Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Western Surveillance Technology sold to Despots and Zioconned Oligarchs Worldwide...

Western Surveillance Technology sold to Despots and Zioconned Oligarchs Worldwide...

WESTERN companies play an important role in the market for surveillance technology used by Arab despots to spy on their people. In this industry worth billions, the companies also earn their money using methods that have been outlawed in their home country....

He lives in Bahrain, the small island nation in the Persian Gulf. He is an English teacher, married and the father of a nine-year-old son. And he is also the chairman of a unique club. To become a member, one must have been tortured by the country's government.

Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar says that he has had to endure torture six times in the last 17 years. He has spoken about his ordeals before both the British House of Commons and representatives of the United Nations.

But for the last eight months, Khanjar has been in hiding. The only way he can be contacted is through human rights organizations who know how to reach him via the Internet telephone service Skype.

The screen remains black during the first phone call. All that can be heard is the voice of a reserved, polite man. Once he has built up enough trust, a bare wall comes into view with a window to the left of it, covered with a flowered curtain. Khanjar sits in front of the curtain, wearing a white shirt, headphones and a microphone. He smiles apologetically and says: "Sorry about my haircut. I have to do it myself, and I don't have a mirror."

Khanjar has been living in this room for more than half a year. He can take five steps in one direction and four in the other, which he does regularly for a quarter of an hour at a time. He wants to keep himself fit, not knowing what the future has in store for him, or what new ordeals he might face.

The room belongs to an acquaintance who has made it available to Khanjar as a refuge. Khanjar is considered an enemy of the government and was arrested for planning to overthrow the regime. In February, after the Arab Spring had begun, the king of Bahrain suspended his sentence, probably to placate the protesters in his realm. Khanjar addressed the protesters. Soon afterwards, he learned that he was about to be arrested again and went into hiding. He was sentenced in absentia to 15 years in prison.

German Technology

Khanjar says that there are dozens like him, people who have disappeared and were tortured to extract information. They were also confronted during interrogation with incriminating material: transcripts of their telephone conversations, copies of their emails and comments made in Internet chat rooms.

Surveillance technology produced in the West, including Germany, plays a key role in the power struggle between Arab despots and their protesting subjects. The Western software helps those in power spy on and persecute members of the opposition. It is a market worth billions, and the methods employed are often illegal in Germany.

Nevertheless, there are about two dozen such surveillance companies in Germany, often specialized service providers with names like Gamma International, Syborg and Utimaco. They keep a low profile and tend to respond to inquiries by pointing out that they are bound by strict confidentiality agreements. The industry, which promises total transparency to its customers in foreign governments and agencies, tries to keep its own activities as shielded from outside scrutiny as possible.

The buyers of digital surveillance technology are often from undemocratic countries, like Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Syria, as well as Bahrain, where a German-Finnish company, Nokia Siemens Networks, sold its products. It was a joint subsidiary of two telecommunications giants, Nokia and Siemens, and is now owned by an investment fund registered in Guernsey, a tax haven in the English Channel. The fund, called Perusa, is managed by secretive businesspeople in Munich.

Nokia Siemens was already the subject of criticism in 2009, because of its dealings with Iran. When the fund took over the company that year, it was given a new name: Trovicor.

This is a special week for companies like Trovicor. The ISS World Asia Pacific conference, a trade show for technically adept intelligence agents, investigators and police detectives, began in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday. It is a marketplace for suppliers and buyers of surveillance technology -- and is often visited by officials from authoritarian countries.

Total Surveillance

The Cyber Warfare Europe conference, held in Berlin in September, was another key event for the intelligence and surveillance community. A former officer with the US Marines conducted the event in a windowless conference room at the Marriott Hotel.

A new, alarming attempt to create total surveillance at the expense of freedom was on display in Berlin. Functionality of the products is a priority, but so too is marketability. They are sold to any ruler who can afford it, no matter who he declares to be an enemy of the state and how he treats such so-called enemies. The attendees in Berlin seemed enthusiastic about what they were seeing, which included the latest tools for hacking into the suspects' computers. The providers of the software promise that they can even provide interested third parties with access to encrypted emails and telephone conversations.

Representatives of the Gamma Group, a conglomerate that owns two companies headquartered in a Munich office building, had their own booth at Cyber Warfare Europe. Gamma describes itself as a leader in the field of cyber surveillance. The current brochure on its flagship product, "FinFisher," reads like an investigator's wish list -- and a nightmare for civil rights activists. The 41-page brochure describes spy software for all kinds of devices and electronic eavesdropping situations.

Gamma offers a product, for example, known as an "active password sniffer," which is supposedly capable of hacking into password-protected data transmissions in online banking (SSL), as well as private, encrypted WLANs. A product called "FinSpy" is designed to facilitate live surveillance through webcams and microphones, download files without being detected, and even monitor Skype conversations and chats.

In its marketing videos, Gamma promises "full access to target systems," that is, the computers and mobile phones of those to be spied on. Of course criminals, as well as real or alleged regime opponents, should not be aware that any of this is taking place. The spy programs are installed on their computers through such tools as "fake software updates."

'Positive Feedback'

According to the videos, unsuspecting users download the spyware onto their devices when they update their Apple iTunes program or BlackBerry software. Once a BlackBerry, for example, has been infected, the originators of the "FinSpy Mobile" spyware can not only listen in on conversations and read text messages, but can also view contacts, photos, calendar entries and other files stored on the device -- no matter where in the world the device is being used at any given moment. Apple has just closed the security loophole that was being used for this purpose with a real iTunes update.

One of the presenters at the Berlin security conference was a slender Italian with the Milan firm Hacking Team, one of Gamma's main competitors. He described in detail how to hack into encrypted messages. Representatives from the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia and Indonesia, all countries with democratic deficits, listened with great interest.

The Italian explained that the encryption is not the place to start, because it is impenetrable, even by a supercomputer. The weak point, he told his audience, are the users. He then showed a video and proudly demonstrated how perfectly the surveillance works as soon the spyware is installed. According to the Italian, all it takes is the push of a button for investigators and other customers to listen in on a Skype conversation being conducted by their targets. The system also allows them to read emails or text messages.

The software is "in use with a few thousand target individuals on five continents," the man from Hacking Team said, noting that his company had achieved "high success rates" and received "a lot of positive feedback." His words were received with warm applause.

The Fine Line between Oppression and Crime Fighting

Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar knows full well the possibilities that the international surveillance industry offers its customers. One day, when he was in prison in Bahrain, he was taken to a room with a table and a chair in it. Both were screwed to the floor and placed so closely together that it was very difficult to sit down. Khanjar was ordered to sit down and then stand up again. But because of the narrow space between the table and chair, he could not stand up completely, and it became painful after only a few minutes. He was forced to stand in that position for a long time.

While Khanjar was standing, his torturer asked him to provide the names and addresses of enemies of the state. Khanjar replied that he did not associate with enemies of the state.

He was then suspended from a ceiling beam, with his wrists and ankles tied together.

A few days later, Khanjar was taken from his cell to an interrogation room once again, where he was made to sit down at a table facing a uniformed man with a few sheets of paper in his hand. They were verbatim transcripts of conversations Khanjar had had on his mobile phone before he was arrested in Bahrain. His torturers were only able to obtain the transcripts because of the Western surveillance technology in use at the time. The Bloomberg news agency was the first to report that during the time period in question, Bahrain was using technology produced by Nokia Siemens Networks, now Trovicor.

People like Khanjar are not completely without allies. As Arab government agencies and intelligence services upgrade their technology, a growing number of Western activists are providing support and assistance to the opposition. One of them is Jacob Appelbaum.

An Advocate for the Opposition

Appelbaum, an American, keeps tabs on the surveillance industry and has been involved in the fight against censorship on the Internet for years. He lives in the US state of Washington, but he is often on the road, helping Internet activists and bloggers worldwide remain anonymous on the Web. Appelbaum is a developer with the Tor project, software that is designed to enable people to surf the Web anonymously in times of growing surveillance. To do this, the software encrypts data and pushes it through various computers that are part of the Tor network.

In October, Appelbaum attended a conference in Tunis organized by Germany's Heinrich Böll Foundation and a Tunisian civil rights organization. Most of the invited attendees were bloggers from the Arab world. Appelbaum and a hacker friend gave a presentation on privacy and security in the use of mobile phones. His conclusion was simple. Privacy and security cannot exist together, Appelbaum said. His listeners glanced uneasily at their smart phones.

Appelbaum compares surveillance companies that sell their products to despots with companies in the Third Reich that supported the Nazis with modern technology. "Surveillance systems are weapons that are used to commit human rights violations," he says. According to Appelbaum, the examples of Egypt, Syria and Tunisia clearly illustrate "that the trade in spyware programs must be uncovered and stopped."

But business for companies like Trovicor, Gamma, Hacking Team and others is booming. TeleStrategies, the organizer of the ISS conferences, estimates annual global sales in the industry at $5 billion (€3.7 billion).

Many suppliers are quick to point out that their products are intended only for legal wire-tapping and skimming, or what they call "lawful interception." But when activists raided an office of the Egyptian intelligence service in Cairo, they discovered a file labeled "FinFisher." It contained a detailed bid that included various FinFisher applications sold by the Gamma Group. According to the documents, the system was priced at about €300,000. In other documents, analysts with Egyptian intelligence noted that they were particularly impressed with the ability to listen in on Skype conversations. Gamma's British subsidiary denied ever having supplied FinFisher products to Egypt.


The Gamma Group, which had not commented on the matter by Friday evening, isn't the only company that suddenly faces embarrassing questions as a result of the upheavals in the Arab world. According to MDR, a German public broadcasting network, bidding documents compiled by Syborg, a company located in the southwestern German state of Saarland, were found in Libya. Syborg manager Robert Lander explains that because of confidentiality requirements, his company "generally provides no information about customers, potential customers or solutions we offer." But, he added, Syborg has "not done any business with or in Libya to date."

It is thought that German surveillance technology has alsobeen delivered to Syria, as part of a surveillance system made by the Italian firm Area. For years, the Italians have used specialized software by the German firm Utimaco in their systems. But as Utimaco senior executive Malte Pollmann insists, Area only built a test version, and the Italians have just cancelled the entire project. "Our software was not used," says Pollmann.

Blue Coat, a US company, was also quick to issue denials after Internet activists revealed that Syrian authorities were filtering and censoring the Internet with the help of Blue Coat hardware. After initially declaring that it had not delivered anything to Syria, the company soon sheepishly admitted that Blue Coat technology was indeed being used. It must have been a shipment that was in fact bound for Iraq, a Blue Coat spokesman said.

Other industry representatives defend themselves just as adamantly, including Jerry Lucas, the organizer of the ISS conferences. He told the British newspaper The Guardian that it is not the responsibility of vendors to divide governments into good and bad. "we're not politicians … we're a for-profit company," Lucas said.

Trovicor officials were only willing to state that they could not publicly discuss customers and the details of agreements. But Christian Hollenberg of Perusa says that there is plenty of evidence on the effectiveness of surveillance techniques in the prevention of serious and very serious crime. Isn't it desirable, Hollenberg asks, to be able to more effectively fight off the attacks of Somali pirates on German commercial ships? And isn't it desirable that German soldiers in Afghanistan are better protected against attacks by jihadists?

A More Thoughtful Impression

Employees of a company like Trovicor "also go to work with the knowledge that they have played a part in preventing suffering," says Hollenberg. He adds that this has to be weighed against "potential unwanted consequences, especially in semi-democratic or undemocratic countries."

Hollenberg also points out that it's important to know "that electronic communication, especially for government offices, is no longer inaccessible anywhere in the world." For this reason, Hollenberg advises, citizens "in semi-democratic or undemocratic countries should refrain for their own safety from using such forms of communication for activities that could bring them into conflict with a regime in power."

There are some industry representatives who make a more thoughtful impression. After the Syria dealings of his partner Area were exposed, Utimaco executive Pollmann temporarily suspended relations with the company. He is now trying to identify the customers where Utimaco products have ended up in the last 15 years. "Dammit," he says, "I have no interest in our technology being used in Syria." But he also believes that suspending the sale of telecommunications technology to the Middle East is "wrong, because this technology, as the movements there have shown, also contains strong elements that promote freedom."

It is a twisted situation, but at its core it revolves around the question of what is more important, security or freedom, and where exactly the line should be drawn. This question isn't just important when it comes to the export of computer programs that can be used as weapons. It is also important and highly controversial in Germany, as police use of a government Trojan horse made by the firm Digitask has shown. And it isn't easy to answer, because both sides -- the intelligence and the civil rights communities alike -- have valid arguments.

Total monitoring leads to a police state, but total freedom from surveillance makes it more difficult for the government to fight crime effectively. Citizens want their privacy, while victims want to see perpetrators brought to justice.

In Bahrain, Abdul Ghani Al Khanjar acknowledges all of these aspects, including the horrifying technical possibilities and the conflicting arguments. He is sitting in his room, in front of the flowered curtain, trying to form an opinion. For a moment, he seems to be at a loss. But then he says that he is betting on politics and the civilization of power. He has no other option.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Zioconned Americans and the "West in General" have chosen willful ignorance over thoughtful critical thinking....

Zioconned Americans and the "West in General" have chosen willful ignorance over thoughtful critical thinking....

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

Pink Floyd – Comfortably Numb


As I observe the zombie like reactions of Americans to our catastrophic economic highway to collapse, the continued plundering and pillaging of the national treasury by criminal Wall Street bankers, non-enforcement of existing laws against those who committed the largest crime in history, and reaction to young people across the country getting beaten, bludgeoned, shot with tear gas and pepper sprayed by police, I can’t help but wonder whether there is anyone home. Why are most Americans so passively accepting of these calamitous conditions? How did we become so comfortably numb? I’ve concluded Americans have chosen willful ignorance over thoughtful critical thinking due to their own intellectual laziness and overpowering mind manipulation by the elite through their propaganda emitting media machines. Some people are awaking from their trance, but the vast majority is still slumbering or fuming at erroneous perpetrators.

Both the Tea Party movement and the Occupy Wall Street movement are a reflection of the mood change in the country, which is a result of government overreach, political corruption, dysfunctional economic policies, and a financial system designed to enrich the few while defrauding the many. The common theme is anger, frustration and disillusionment with a system so badly broken it appears unfixable through the existing supposedly democratic methods. The system has been captured by an oligarchy of moneyed interests from the financial industry, mega-corporations, and military industrial complex, protected by their captured puppets in Washington DC and sustained by the propaganda peddling corporate media. The differences in political parties are meaningless as they each advocate big government solutions to all social, economic, foreign relations, and monetary issues.

There is confusion and misunderstanding regarding the culprits in this drama. It was plain to me last week when I read about a small group of concerned citizens in the next town over who decided to support the Occupy movement by holding a nightly peaceful march to protest the criminal syndicate that is Wall Street and a political system designed to protect them. My local paper asked for people’s reaction to this Constitutional exercising of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Here is a sampling of the comments:

“What are those Occupy people thinking?! The whole concept is foreign to me. There are always going to be the haves and the have nots. Get over it. Blame yourself for not paying more attention in school or not working hard enough. Just wish people would take responsibility.”

“If they worked half as hard actually working as they do being a pain in everyone else’s ass, they’d be rich! Being born does not guarantee success or wealth. Only hard work does. Maybe we should let them all occupy a jail cell or two.”

“If the goal is to irritate hardworking suburban commuters on their way home, that sounds like the perfect time and location.”

“Let’s hope they don’t pitch tents and trash Lansdale. They need to look for a job, not occupy the streets.”

“I work, and even if I wasn’t working I wouldn’t (march); I would be out looking for a JOB!”

I was dumbfounded at the rage directed towards mostly young people who haven’t even begun their working careers and have played no part in the destruction of our economic system underway for the last 30 years. The people making these statements are middle aged, middle class suburbanites. They seem to be just as livid as the OWS protestors, but their ire is being directed towards the only people who have taken a stand against Wall Street greed and Washington D.C. malfeasance. I’m left scratching my head trying to understand their animosity towards people drawing attention to the enormous debt based ponzi scheme that is our country, versus their silent acquiescence to the transfer of trillions in taxpayer dollars to the criminal bankers that have destroyed the worldwide financial system. I can only come to the conclusion the average American has become so apathetic, willfully ignorant of facts and reality, distracted by the techno-gadgets that run their lives, uninterested in anything beyond next week’s episode of Dancing with the Stars or Jersey Shore, and willing to let the corporate media moguls form their opinions for them through relentless propaganda, the only thing that will get their attention is an absolute collapse of our economic scheme. Uninformed, unconcerned, intellectually vacant Americans will get exactly that in the not too distant future....

The ZIOCONNED and utterly corrupt Fed of Ben Shalom BERNANKE Threw $7 Trillion at the Big Banks, Without Telling Congress or Shareholders....

The Hill notes:

A top House Democrat is calling for a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke following a report that the central bank secretly committed more than $7 trillion to save banks during the financial crisis.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.) sent a letter on Monday to panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) requesting the committee look into how banks “benefitted from trillions of dollars in previously undisclosed government loans provided at below-market rates.”

“Many Americans are struggling to understand why banks deserve such preferential treatment while millions of homeowners are being denied assistance and are at increasing risk of foreclosure,” Cummings said.


The request comes on the heels of a Bloomberg report that said the Fed secretly committed more than $7 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the nation’s top financial institutions, and that these banks “reaped an estimated $13 billion of income” on the below-market rates.

“Unfortunately, officials from many of these financial institutions declined to comment about these loans, including officials from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley,” Cummings writes.

Information about the loans was withheld from Congress as lawmakers debated and passed the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill and Consumer Protection Act of 2010, Cummings said. Banks also failed to disclose the information to their shareholders.


This “secret financing helped America’s biggest financial firms get bigger and go on to pay employees as much as they did at the height of the housing bubble,” according to economists cited in the report.

Indeed, as I’ve repeatedly noted, virtually all of the so-called help for homeowners is actually yet another bailout for the banks at the expense of homeowners.

All of this might make sense if throwing money at the banks would help the economy, but it is actually destroying the economy. Also, a large portion of bailout funds went to foreign banks. And we may be getting ready to do it again.

But since the banks have bought and sold Washington D.C., the perpetual, stealth bailouts will continue forever unless We the People stand up and “just say no”.

Greater Depression Hidden from View....

“Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy.”Aristophanes, Plutus

men eating soup during great depression COMFORTABLY NUMB SNAP%20Card COMFORTABLY NUMB

The anger and vitriol directed at OWS protestors by middle class Americans is a misdirected reaction to a quandary they can’t quite comprehend. They know their lives are getting more difficult but aren’t sure why. They are paying more for energy, food, tuition, and real estate taxes, while the price of their houses decline and their wages stagnate. More than a quarter of all homeowners are underwater on their mortgage and many are drowning in credit card and student loan debt. At the same time, government drones tell them the economy is in its second year of recovery and corporate profits are at all-time highs. Government statistics, false storylines, and entitlement programs are designed to confuse the public and obscure the fact we are in the midst of another Depression. Everyone has seen the pictures of the Great Depression breadlines, farmers forced off their land during the dustbowl, and downtrodden Americans in soup kitchens. The economic conditions today are as bad as or worse than the Great Depression. This Depression is hidden from plain view because there are no unemployment lines, bread lines, or soup lines. We are experiencing an electronic Great Depression, as food stamps, unemployment compensation, Social security payments and welfare benefits are electronically delivered to millions of recipients.

There have been over 12 million foreclosure actions since 2007, with millions of Americans losing their homes. Another 16 million homeowners are underwater on their mortgages as home prices continue to fall and the economy sinks further by the day. The value of household real estate has fallen from $22.7 trillion in 2006 to $16.2 trillion today, a loss of $6.5 trillion concentrated among the middle class. In contrast, mortgage debt has only decreased by $600 billion mostly due to write-offs by the banks that created fraudulent mortgage products to lure Americans into debt.

foreclosure%20stacked%20bar%202011 01 thumb 550x388 42232 COMFORTABLY NUMB

The unemployment rate in the United States reached 25% during the Great Depression. The government manipulated fictional unemployment rate reported to the public by drones at the BLS is currently 9.0%. They conveniently ignore the millions of people who have given up looking for work and those who have taken jobs as part-time pickle ploppers at McDonalds, when they previously assembled automobiles at GM. The true number of unemployed/underemployed is 23%.


Since 2007, unemployment has officially gone up by 7 million. In reality, the same percentage of the working age population should be employed today as in 2007 (63%). Since only 58.4% of the working age population is employed today (lowest since 1983), another 4 million needs to be added to the official unemployment tally. The fact is there are 240 million working age Americans and only 140 million are employed. This means there are 100 million working age Americans not working, but our government only classifies 14 million of them as unemployed. There is certainly millions of stay at home moms, students, and legitimately disabled among the 86 million people classified as not in the labor force, but you can’t tell me that another 20 to 30 million of these people couldn’t or wouldn’t work if given the opportunity.

The deception in government reported figures is borne out by the most successful government program of the Obama administration, which has been adding participants at an astounding rate. The Food Stamp program has been a smashing success as we’ve added 13.8 million Americans to this fine program since Obama’s inauguration, a mere 43% increase in less than three years. There are now 45.8 million Americans dependent upon food stamps for survival, 14.7% of the U.S. population. This program began in 1969 and enrollment always surges during recessions and declines during recoveries. But a funny thing happened during our current “recovery”. The government reported our recession over in December 2009. It was certainly over for the Wall Street psychopaths as they rewarded themselves with $43 billion of bonuses in 2009/2010. The number of Americans on food stamps has risen by 6.8 million during this government sponsored “recovery”. You’ll be happy to know that Obama’s good buddy – Jamie Dimon – and his well run machine at JP Morgan earns hundreds of millions administering the SNAP program.

Food%20stamps%20Aug COMFORTABLY NUMB

Since 2007, Federal government transfer payments have increased from $1.7 trillion annually to $2.3 trillion, a 35% increase in four years. This is surely a sign of a recovering economy. Bernanke’s zero interest rate policy has stolen $400 billion per year from senior citizens and savers and handed it to the very bankers who caused the pain and suffering of millions. Personal interest income has declined from $1.4 trillion to $1.0 trillion, while Wall Street faux profits have soared. The game plan of the oligarchy has been to transfer hundreds of billions from taxpayers to bankers, report profits through accounting entries reducing loan loss reserves, pump up their stock prices and convince clueless lemming investors to buy newly issued shares at inflated valuations. The plan has failed. The zero interest rate policy’s unintended consequences have caused revolutions throughout the Middle East and massive food inflation across the developing world.

The single biggest reason the middle class feel frustrated, angry and like they are falling behind is due to the Federal Reserve and the relentless never ending inflation they produce in order to support their masters on Wall Street and provide cover for the trillions in debt spending by politicians in Washington DC. It is no surprise that beginning in 1980 when government spending began to accelerate much more rapidly than government revenues, the government decided to “tweak” how it measured inflation. The government reports inflation at 3.5% today. The truth is inflation is running in excess of 10% if measured exactly as it was in 1980. That’s right, we have a recession and we have inflation in double digits. No wonder the masses are restless.


The reason middle class Americans are being methodically exterminated and driven into poverty is the monetary policies of the Federal Reserve. Since 1971, when Nixon extinguished the last vestiges of the gold standard and unleashed politicians to spend borrowed money without immediate consequence, the U.S. dollar has lost 82% of its purchasing power using the government manipulated CPI. In reality, it has lost over 90% of its purchasing power. The average American, after decades of being dumbed down by government sanctioned education, is incapable of understanding the impact of inflation on their lives. As their wages rise 2% to 3% per year and inflation rises 5% to 10% per year, they get poorer day by day. The Wall Street banks, who own the Federal Reserve, step in and convince the average American to substitute debt for real wealth in order to keep living the modern techno-lifestyle sold to them by mainstream corporate media.

CEO to average pay ratio COMFORTABLY NUMB

The oligarchy of moneyed interests have done a spectacular job convincing the working middle class they should be angry at 20 year old OWS protestors, illegal immigrants and the inner city welfare class, rather than the true culprits – the Federal Reserve, Wall Street banks and mega-corporations. This is a testament to the power of propaganda and the intellectual slothfulness of the average American. U.S. based mega-corporations fired 864,000 higher wage American workers between 2000 and 2010, while hiring almost 3 million workers in low wage foreign countries, using their billions in cash to buy back their own stocks, and paying corporate executives shamefully excessive compensation. The corporate mainstream media treats corporate CEO’s like rock stars as if they deserve to be compensated at a level 243 times the average worker. The S&P 500 consists of the 500 biggest companies in America and while the executives of these companies have reaped millions in compensation, the stock index for these companies is at the exact level it was on July 9, 1998. Over the last thirteen years workers were fired by the thousands, shareholders earned 0% (negative 39% on an inflation adjusted basis), and executives got fabulously rich.

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Man made inflation has stealthily devastated millions of lives over the last four decades. When the weekly wages of the average worker are adjusted for inflation, they are making 12% less than they did in 1971. Using a real non-manipulated measure of inflation, the average worker is making 30% less than they did in 1971. Sadly, our math challenged populace only comprehend their wages have doubled in the last forty years, without understanding the true impact of inflation. Thankfully, the Wall Street debt dealers with a helping hand from Madison Avenue propaganda peddlers stepped up to the plate and imprisoned the middle class with the shackles of $2.5 trillion in consumer debt. So, while real wages have fallen 30% since 1971, consumer debt has increased by 1,700%.

Chart     Total US Consumer Credit Outstanding 1945 2011 COMFORTABLY NUMB

Americans have been snookered into renouncing their citizenship and converting to being mindless consumers. Citizenship requires a person to be actively engaged in the community with obligations to fellow citizens and future generations. Consumerism requires people to love things, embrace debt, worry about what others have, and become driven by the accumulation of possessions and the appearance of wealth. The disgusting exhibition that Madison Avenue maggots have coined Black Friday is the ultimate display of consumerism. In a nauseating display of senseless spending driven by retail conglomerates, Americans act like Pavlov’s salivating dogs by lining up for hours to stampede over and pepper spray other consumers to get the ultimate deal on that Chinese made toaster oven, Vietnamese made laptop, Korean made HDTV, or Mexican made tortilla maker. They don’t seem to grasp the irony of going deeper into debt buying cheap crap made in foreign countries by the workers who took their jobs. The mainstream media proclaims a hugely successful Black Friday as millions bought crap they didn’t need with money they don’t have, while millions more ate their Thanksgiving meals in food shelters – unreported by the media.This repulsive manifestation of consumerism is applauded and encouraged by our government, as described by George Monbiot:

“Governments are deemed to succeed or fail by how well they make money go round, regardless of whether it serves any useful purpose. They regard it as a sacred duty to encourage the country’s most revolting spectacle: the annual feeding frenzy in which shoppers queue all night, then stampede into the shops, elbow, trample and sometimes fight to be the first to carry off some designer junk which will go into landfill before the sales next year. The madder the orgy, the greater the triumph of economic management.”

The masses have been brainwashed by those in power into thinking consumer spending utilizing debt is essential for a strong economy, when the exact opposite is the truth. Saving and investment are the essential ingredients to a strong economy. Debt based spending only benefits bankers, mega-corporations, and politicians.

Mass Manipulation through ZIOCONNED Propaganda....

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. …We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of. This is a logical result of the way in which our democratic society is organized. Vast numbers of human beings must cooperate in this manner if they are to live together as a smoothly functioning society. In almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by the relatively small number of persons…who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind.” – Edward Bernays, Propaganda, 1928

Edward Bernays, the father of propaganda to control the masses, would be so proud of his disciples running our country today. He clearly believed only an elite few were intellectually capable of running the show. Essentially, he hit upon the concept of the 1% telling the 99% what they should think and believe over eighty years ago. The mechanisms for controlling the thoughts, beliefs, and actions of the population are so much more efficient today. The conditioning begins when we are children, as every child will be bombarded with at least 30,000 hours of propaganda broadcast by media corporations by the time they reach adulthood. Their minds are molded and they are instructed what to believe and what to value. Those in control of society want to keep the masses entertained at an infantile level, with instant gratification and satisfying desires as their only considerations. The elite have achieved their Alpha status through intellectual superiority, control of the money system, and control of the political process. Their power emanates from eliminating choices, while giving the illusion of choice to the masses. People think they are free, when in reality they are slaves to a two party political system, a few Wall Street banks, and whatever our TVs tell us to buy.

Our entire system is designed to control the thoughts and actions of the masses. In many ways it is done subtly, while recently it has become more bold and blatant. It is essential for the ruling elite to keep control of our minds through media messages and the educational system. It is not a surprise that our public education system has methodically deteriorated over the last four decades. The government gained control over education and purposely teaches our children selected historical myths, social engineering gibberish and only the bare essentials of math and science. The government creates the standardized tests and approves the textbooks. We are left with millions of functionally illiterate children that grow into non-critical thinking adults. This is the exact result desired by the 1%. If too many of the 99% were able to ignore the media propaganda and think for themselves, revolution would result. This is why the moneyed interests have circled the wagons, invoked police state thug tactics, and used all the powers of their media machine to squash the OWS movement. It threatens their power and control.

“Experience has shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.” – Thomas Jefferson

A highly educated engaged citizenry would be a danger to the existing social order. The 1%, educated at our finest universities, does not want average Americans to obtain a great education for a reasonable price. They want them to get a worthless diploma at an excessively high price tag and become debt slaves to the Wall Street 1%. They want uneducated, indebted consumers, not educated productive citizens. Our republic has been slowly perverted since the time of its inception. The insidious process had been slow and methodical until 1913. The establishment of the Federal Reserve by an elite group of bankers and their politician friends and the establishment of a personal income tax created the conditions that have allowed a small cabal of powerful men to dictate the course of our economic, political, social, and military policies for the last 98 years. Anyone that chooses to open their eyes and awake from the propaganda induced stupor can see the result of allowing a small group of corrupt authoritarian men using their power to pervert our government into tyranny. The majority remains oppressed, buried under trillions of debt, while the shysters reap obscene profits, poison the worldwide economic system, and walk away unscathed in the aftermath of their crimes.

The ruling oligarchy has become so brazen in the last few years that it has attracted the attention of the critical thinking minority. The advent of the internet has allowed these critical thinking few to analyze the un-sanitized facts, discuss the issues, and provide truth amidst a blizzard of lies. The proliferation of truth telling websites (Zero Hedge, Mish, Financial Sense, Naked Capitalism) has allowed truth seekers to bypass the government sanctioned corporate media. The pillaging of society by the politically powerful, corrupt 1% is plain to see in the graphs below.


The divergence in household income was not the result of hard work, superior intellectual firepower, or the media touted entrepreneurial spirit of the rich. It was the result of the 1% capturing the economic and political system of the United States and using it to ransack the wealth of the formerly working middle class. The fatal flaw which will ultimately result in a fitting end for the powerful elitists is their egos. They are psychopaths, unable to feel empathy for their fellow man. Enough is never enough. They always want more. Life is a game to them. They truly believe they can pull the right strings and continue to accumulate more riches. But they are wrong. They are blinded by their hubris. There are limits to growth based solely on debt and we’ve reached that limit. The world is crumbling under the weight of crippling debt created by these Wall Street psychopaths, while the corrupted bought off politicians try to shift the losses from the bankers who incurred them to the citizens who have already been fleeced. Nomi Prins captures the essence of our current situation:

“Today, the stock prices of the largest US banks are about as low as they were in the early part of 2009, not because of euro-contagion or Super-committee super-incompetence (a useless distraction anyway) but because of the ongoing transparency void surrounding the biggest banks amidst their central-bank-covered risks, and the political hot potato of how many emergency loans are required to keep them afloat at any given moment. Because investors don’t know their true exposures, any more than in early 2009. Because US banks catalyzed the global crisis that is currently manifesting itself in Europe. Because there never was a separate US housing crisis and European debt crisis. Instead, there is a worldwide, systemic, unregulated, uncontained, rapacious need for the most powerful banks and financial institutions to leverage whatever could be leveraged in whatever forms it could be leveraged in. So, now we’re just barely in the second quarter of the game of thrones, where the big banks are the kings, the ECB, IMF and the Fed are the money supply, and the populations are the powerless serfs. Yeah, let’s play the ECB inflation game, while the world crumbles.”

Those in power are beginning to lose control. You can sense their desperation. Their propaganda is losing its impact as the pain for millions of Americans has become acute. The outrage and anger flaring across the country on a daily basis, reflected in the OWS movement, is just the beginning of a revolutionary period descending upon this nation. The existing social order will be swept away, but they will not go without a fight. They will use their control of the police, military and media to try and crush the coming rebellion.

The Dream is Gone....

“The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws.” – Tacitus, The Annals of Imperial Rome

In addition to controlling the monetary system and brainwashing the inhabitants with relentless propaganda, the ruling class has used their control of the political process to impose thousands of laws, statutes, rules, and regulations upon the citizens. Again, an apathetic, distracted, trusting populace has been easily convinced that more laws will make them safe and secure. They have willingly sacrificed liberty, freedom and self reliance for the façade of safety, security and protection. The overwhelming number of government rules and regulations are designed to control you and insure your compliance and obedience to those in power. In a non-corrupt society inhabited by citizens willing to honor their obligations, government’s function is to insure property rights and defend the country from foreign invaders. Citizens don’t need to be herded like sheep with threats of imprisonment to do what is right. We don’t need 90,000 pages of regulations telling us the difference between right and wrong.


There were 400 pages of Federal Tax rules when the 1% personal income tax was implemented in 1913. Did the 18,000% increase in tax rules since 1913 benefit the average American or did they benefit the 1% who hires the lobbyists to write the rules which are passed into law by the politicians who receive their campaign contributions from the 1%? Do you ever wonder why you pay more taxes than a billionaire Wall Street hedge fund manager? Do you think our tax system is designed to benefit billionaires and mega-corporations when corporations with billions of income pay little or no taxes? Complexity and confusion benefits those who can create and take advantage of the complexity and confusion. Corporations and special interests have used their wealth to bribe politicians to design loopholes, credits, and exemptions that benefit their interests. The corruption of the system is terminal.


“The mistake you make, don’t you see, is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself. After all, what do you achieve by refusing to make money? You’re trying to behave as though one could stand right outside our economic system. But one can’t. One’s got to change the system, or one changes nothing. One can’t put things right in a hole-and-corner way, if you take my meaning.”George Orwell

The American people are paying the price for allowing a few evil men to gain control of our government. The American people cowered in fear as the 342 page Patriot Act was somehow written in a few weeks after 9/11, introduced in Congress on October 23, passed the House on October 24 with no debate, passed the Senate on October 25 with no debate, and signed into law on October 26 by George Bush. A law passed by the ruling elite that stripped Americans of their freedoms and liberties was passed using fear mongering false patriotism propaganda to squelch dissent and the American people had no say in the matter. The government has used fear to keep the American people under control. We now unquestioningly accept being molested in airports. We shrug as our intelligence agencies eavesdrop on our telephone conversations and emails without the need for a court order. It is now taken for granted that we imprison people without charging them with a crime and assassinate suspected terrorists in foreign countries with predator drones. Invading countries and going to war no longer requires a declaration of war by Congress as required by the Constitution. The State grows ever more powerful.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Americans sit idly by, watching their 52 inch HDTVs, as young people across the country are beaten, pepper sprayed, shot with rubber bullets and tear gas, and scorned and ridiculed by corporate media pundits for exercising their free speech rights to peacefully protest our corrupt system. The American tradition of civil disobedience is considered domestic terrorism by those in authority. Our beloved protectors in the Orwellian named Department of Homeland Security write reports classifying Ron Paul supporters and returning Iraq veterans as potential terrorists. If the powers that be get their way, the internet will be locked down and controlled, as it poses a huge threat to their thought control endeavors. Freedom to think, learn, question and organize resistance is unacceptable in the eyes of the elite. The country has reached a tipping point. Will enough right thinking Americans stand up and fight to bring down this corrupt system, or will we be herded silently to slaughter. The truth is there is something terribly wrong in this country. We are facing a myriad of problems that will require courage and common sense to overcome. We need only look in the mirror to find the guilty party. It is time to stop letting fear dictate our actions. Conflict is coming to this country due to the evil sanctioned by our corrupt leaders and the upright men and women who will bear the burden of destroying that evil.

Our civilization has adopted the worst aspects of the two most famous dystopian novels in history – Orwell’s 1984 and Huxley’s Brave New World. The question is whether the population of this country is too far gone to recover. The answer to that question will determine whether the country chooses authoritarian dictatorship or a renewal of our founding principles. Aldous Huxley understood the three pillars of Western civilization fifty years ago and that their destruction would result in a collapse of our economic system:

“Armaments, universal debt, and planned obsolescence – those are the three pillars of Western prosperity. If war, waste, and moneylenders were abolished, you’d collapse. And while you people are over-consuming the rest of the world sinks more and more deeply into chronic disaster.”

The three pillars sustaining the American empire edifice of never ending war, ever accumulating debt and excessive consumerism are crumbling. The growing corruption and weight of un-payable debt have weakened the very foundation of our grand experiment. The existing structure will surely collapse. My entire adult life has tracked the decline of the American empire. I had become comfortably numb. I came to my senses and began to question all the Federal government/Wall Street/Corporate Media sponsored truths about eight years ago. Many others have also awoken and begun to challenge the false storylines dictated by those in power.

Crumbling Pillars in US COMFORTABLY NUMB

The young people leading the protests across this land are showing tremendous courage and a tenacity of spirit that has been dormant for decades among the lethargic, distracted, over-medicated public. Despite being subjected to government education conditioning, these young people have zeroed in on the enemy. They may not have all the solutions, but they have correctly identified the corrupt banking system as the central nervous system of this vampire squid sucking the life out of our nation. I will support any effort to shine a light on our crooked system. My three young sons deserve a chance at a better life than they will get under the thumb of this oligarchic criminal enterprise. As a child I caught a fleeting glimpse of the American Dream. I turned to look, but it was gone. I choose not to become comfortably numb. I choose to do whatever it will take to renew the opportunity for my sons to achieve the American Dream....

Being Anti-War Is Labeled Terrorism....in ZIOCONNED USA and EUROPE....

According to the Department of Justice’s Inspector General (via AP), the FBI spied on an anti-war rally in Pittsburgh sponsored by a nonviolent anti-war and anti-discrimination group, pretending it was preventing terrorism:

The FBI gave inaccurate information to Congress and the public when it claimed a possible terrorism link to justify surveilling an anti-war rally in Pittsburgh, the Justice Department’s inspector general said Monday in a report on the bureau’s scrutiny of domestic activist groups.

Inspector General Glenn Fine said the FBI had no reason to expect that anyone of interest in a terrorism investigation would be present at the 2002 event sponsored by the Thomas Merton Center, a nonviolent anti-war and anti-discrimination group.

The surveillance was “an ill-conceived project on a slow work day,” the IG stated in a study of several FBI domestic terrorism probes of people affiliated with organizations such as Greenpeace and the Catholic Worker.

Earlier, in statements to Congress and in a press release, the FBI had described the surveillance as related to a terrorism investigation.


The FBI has broad definitions that enable it to classify matters as domestic terrorism that actually are trespassing or vandalism, the inspector general said.

Regarding the Pittsburgh rally, controversy erupted in 2006 over whether the FBI had spied on protesters at the event several years earlier because of their anti-war views.

Promoters of peace in Maryland, Minneapolis, Chicago and elsewhere were also considered potential terrorists, as was an individual Quaker peace activist.

The Inspector General’s report confirms that – at least in some instances – anti-war views were specifically targeted:

The report concluded that, while the FBI probes were not generally predicated simply on the views of the targets, at least one FBI field office was focused on a group “as a result of its anti-war views.” It also found that “FBI agents and supervisors sometimes provided the [Office of the Inspector General] with speculative, after-the-fact rationalizations for their prior decisions to open investigations that we did not find persuasive.”

In addition, anti-war websites like AntiWar.com are listed on various terrorist watchlists: see number 16 here, and number 37 here.

AntiWar’s sin? It is (according to the watchlists):

An unusual site, essentially an isolationist right-wing/libertarian site consciously designed to appeal to anti-war activists from the left as well.

The irony, of course, is:

Americans want to put a stop to perpetual warfare:

Ron Paul is [partly] gaining popularity because he is against the never-ending War On Terror, and wants to bring the troops home. Americans are sick of the never-ending, ever-creeping war. See this and this.

As Talking Points Memo reported earlier this month:

“…Only about a quarter say the wars in Iraq (26%) and Afghanistan (25%) have lessened the chances of terrorist attacks in the United States,” the Pew report reads. “In both cases majorities say the wars either have increased the risk of terrorism in this country or made no difference.”

Top American military leaders agree, saying that the war on terror has weakened our national security [and it was planned before 9/11, and has little to do with terrorism.]

And a CBS News poll from November 11th found:

  • Three-quarters of Americans support US withdrawal from Iraq.
  • Two-thirds of Americans believe the Iraq War was not worth fighting.
  • Half of Americans oppose US involvement in Libya.
  • More than half of Americans want to end the war in Afghanistan.
  • Seventy per cent of Americans do not support military intervention to change dictatorships into democracies.
  • 55% of Americans say Iran can be contained via diplomacy.
  • Only 15% of Americans support military intervention in Iran.

And Nobel-prize winning economists say war is destroying our economy.

Top American military and intelligence leaders, economists and the majority of Americans, by this logic, must be terrorists.

Nazi leader Hermann Goering’s famous statement is relevant to this issue:

Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.

Is Everyone Who Criticizes the Government a Terrorist?

Of course, anti-war protesters shouldn’t take it too personally, since they are in good company:

According to Department of Defense training manuals, protest is considered “low-level terrorism”. And see this, this and this.


The government is also using anti-terrorism laws to keep people from learning what pollutants are in their own community. See this, this, this and this.

Claims of “national security” are also used to keep basic financial information – such as who got bailout money – secret. That might not bode for particularly warm and friendly treatment for someone persistently demanding the release of such information.

The state of Missouri tried to label as terrorists current Congressman Ron Paul and his supporters, former Congressman Bob Barr, libertarians in general, anyone who holds gold, and a host of other people.


And according to a law school professor, pursuant to the Military Commissions Act:

Anyone who … speaks out against the government’s policies could be declared an “unlawful enemy combatant” and imprisoned indefinitely. That includes American citizens.


Government apologists are also eager to label anyone “taking a cynical stance toward politics, mistrusting authority, endorsing democratic practices, … and displaying an inquisitive, imaginative outlook” as worthy of a Stalinist trip to the insane asylum....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ziad Takieddine: son deal avec Chirac, les paiements de Hariri et la corruption Generalisee a L'Elysee....

Ziad Takieddine: son deal avec Chirac, les paiements de Hariri et la corruption Generalisee a L'Elysee....
Le deal s'est fait sous Chirac. Le marchand d'armes Ziad Takieddine a bien été payé d'une partie des commissions qu'il réclamait sur la vente des frégates à l'Arabie saoudite, au cœur de l'enquête des juges Van Ruymbeke et Le Loire. Ces paiements, promis en 1994 par le gouvernement Balladur mais bloqués sur instruction du président de la République fin 1996, auraient été partiellement effectués, entre 1997 et 1998, grâce à l'intervention du premier ministre libanais Rafic Hariri auprès de Jacques Chirac, d'après plusieurs documents et témoignages recueillis par Mediapart.
Selon un décompte effectué devant les juges, M. Takieddine a lui-même admis avoir conservé un montant de 70 millions de dollars sur une somme totale de 130 millions, qui a transité par une institution financière de M. Hariri, la Banque de la Méditerranée. M. Hariri se serait ainsi substitué à l'office d'armement Sofresa pour régler secrètement son dû à l'intermédiaire des balladuriens. Les contrats liant la Sofresa et les sociétés de M. Takieddine et ses associés ayant été simultanément détruits dans les sous-sols d'une banque suisse, le 10 mars 1997.

Le marchand d'armes, aujourd'hui mis en examen pour
MM. Hariri et ChiracMM. Hariri et Chirac© Reuters
«complicité et recel d'abus de biens sociaux», a maintenu le contact avec Rafic Hariri jusqu'à sa mort en 2005. Il avait d'ailleurs invité le premier ministre libanais chez lui, à l'occasion de la visite de Jean-François Copé à Beyrouth, en octobre 2003.
Alors que Ziad Takieddine a pointé du doigt, la semaine dernière, l'existence d'un «système bis» piloté par l'homme d'affaires Alexandre Djouhri, proche de Dominique de Villepin - une accusation démentie par l'intéressé et qui ne s'appuie pas sur des éléments inédits -, l'existence de paiements reçus par M.Takieddine sous Chirac laisse désormais entrevoir la possibilité d'un deal conclu entre ex-balladuriens et chiraquiens au sujet des commissions des frégates saoudiennes.
Ce scénario prend à contre-pied Dominique de Villepin, secrétaire général de l'Elysée à l'époque des faits, et l'ancien ministre de la défense Charles Millon qui avaient tous les deux affirmé avoir purement et simplement écarté les intermédiaires à cause des soupçons de corruption relevés par les services secrets français.
Dans un courrier inédit transmis aux juges (ci-dessous), Ziad Takieddine demande au premier ministre libanais, Rafic Hariri, d'intervenir auprès de son «ami» Jacques Chirac afin que soit réglé le contentieux naissant entre l'office d'armement Sofresa, dépendant de l'Etat, et les intermédiaires choisis par le gouvernement Balladur pour la vente des frégates à l'Arabie Saoudite dans le cadre du contrat Sawari 2.
Dans cette lettre, M. Takieddine accuse les chiraquiens de vouloir «récupérer» ou «s'emparer» des sommes d'argent qu'il devait encaisser. Il évoque les menaces reçues d'un«émissaire du Président», lui demandant «de tout arrêter». Il se plaint d'être devenu «la tête à abattre».
«Ce qui apparait aujourd'hui, c'est un retour aux anciennes habitudes du pouvoir, consistant à mettre la main sur des sommes d'argent, faisant partie intégrante d'un contrat d'Etat, sur lequel ils ont toute l'autorité, dénonce-t-il, pour d'un côté contrôler les paiements, et de l'autre côté, (...) le faire tout discrètement en cachant toutes les allégations et leurs actes dans le très convenable secret défense».

« La France respectera tous ses engagements »

En soulignant «l'urgence de trouver une solution à ce problème grave», M. Takieddine sollicite un rendez-vous au premier ministre libanais «avant que les choses s'enveniment». Un processus d'arbitrage engagé à Genève risquait, de fait, d'ébruiter l'affaire, comme Mediapart l'a déjà raconté.
«J'ai pensé à M. Hariri, que je ne connaissais pas, mais qui était le seul capable de parler à son ami, M. Chirac, a expliqué M.Takieddine aux juges. J'en ai parlé au ministre des affaires étrangères libanais que je connaissais et lui ai remis une note de trois pages à l'attention de M. Hariri. Je lui expliquais tous les faits et lui demandais d'intervenir auprès du président Chirac pour qu'il puisse faire respecter les engagements de la France.»
De gauche à droite: Farès Bouez, ancien ministre, Ziad Takieddine, l'ambassadeur Lecourtier et Jean-François Copé.De gauche à droite: Farès Bouez, ancien ministre, Ziad Takieddine, l'ambassadeur Lecourtier et Jean-François Copé.© (Mediapart)
C'est donc l'un de ses amis, l'ancien ministre des affaires étrangères du Liban, Farès Bouez, qui a introduit Ziad Takieddine auprès de Rafic Hariri. M. Bouez sera aussi l'un des hôtes de Jean-François Copé lors de sa visite au Liban en 2003, organisée par le même Takieddine.
Ziad Takieddine a demandé à Farès Bouez «de remettre cette note, qui était sous pli fermé, à M. Hariri dans l'avion qui les conduisait à New York, à la mi-septembre 1996». «A son arrivée à New-York, le ministre m'appelle pour m'informer que M. Hariri a lu la note devant lui et qu'il souhaite me rencontrer dès son retour à Paris trois jours plus tard», a expliqué Ziad Takieddine au juge Van Ruymbeke.
Une première rencontre avec Rafic Hariri a lieu «à 11 heures du soir, chez lui, place d'Iéna». «Il me dit qu'il a lu ma note. Il me dit que M. Chirac n'a pas pu faire cela, qu'il ne le croit pas. Je lui réponds que tout est vrai. Il m'informe qu'il doit déjeuner le lendemain avec M. Chirac et s'engage à m'appeler avant son départ à Beyrouth. Il m'appelle le lendemain à 15 h et me demande de l'accompagner à l'aéroport. Il m'indique, en route vers l'aéroport du Bourget, que le problème a été réglé et que la France respectera tous ses engagements.»
Dans la foulée, M. Takieddine aurait demandé «un écrit» au premier ministre libanais. «Il m'a répondu que M. Chirac ne rédigerait pas de papier. Je lui ai demandé s'il acceptait de se porter garant. Il ne voulait pas. Il me proposait que sa banque, la Banque Méditerranée à Beyrouth, puisse l'être. Je lui ai demandé si c'était lui ou si c'était M. Chirac qui allait tenir les engagements. J'ai senti une hésitation de sa part. Il me disait que ce n'était pas mon problème mais que les engagements seraient respectés.»
Un nouveau rendez-vous réunit Takieddine, Hariri et le prince Sultan, ministre de la défense saoudien, à Genève : «La veille de la rencontre, j'ai dîné avec Hariri à l'Intercontinental à Genève et le lendemain nous sommes allés voir le Prince Sultan, dans son palais à Genève, à 11 heures où nous l'avons rencontré trois-quarts d'heure».
M. Hariri aurait «tout raconté» au dignitaire saoudien : «son intervention à ma demande, sa rencontre avec le président Chirac et l'engagement de celui-ci à respecter tous les termes du contrat. Le président Chirac lui avait dit qu'il avait considéré par erreur qu'il y avait du financement illicite à travers ce contrat et que désormais il respecterait tous ses engagements.»

Villepin et Millon ont-ils menti ?

Du côté des balladuriens, le règlement de l'affaire semble avoir été un secret de Polichinelle. Thierry Gaubert, l'ami et ancien collaborateur de Nicolas Sarkozy, mis en examen dans l'affaire, a ainsi indiqué au juge avoir appris par Takiedddine
T. GaubertT. Gaubert
«qu'il avait trouvé un arrangement avec M. Rafic Hariri, qui avait fait le lien entre lui et Chirac pour le paiement de ses commissions liées à Sawari 2».
Lors de son audition, Ziad Takieddine a détaillé sa rémunération dans l'affaire des frégates vendues à l'Arabie saoudite.
De 1995 à 1997, il assure avoir été rémunéré par la partie saoudienne, sur un compte au Crédit suisse et/ou à la banque Audi de Genève. Les contrats signés prévoyaient en effet un délai de deux ans avant le paiement des commissions. «J'ai perçu au total un montant de l'ordre de 70-75millions de dollars payés par un avocat représentant le Prince Sultan, de 1995 à 1997, en quatre paiements», a révélé M. Takieddine.
Interrogé sur la somme globale reçue de M. Hariri après son intervention auprès de Jacques Chirac, le marchand d'armes s'est montré précis. «M. Hariri m'avait ouvert un compte à la Banque Méditerranée, Verdun, pour recevoir cet argent. Il y a d'abord eu 75 millions de dollars versés en avril 1997 puis, deux ou trois mois après, 45 millions de dollars.»
Cette somme de 130 millions de dollars, déjà évoquée dans les documents révélés début septembre par Mediapart, aurait été partagée avec le cheik Ali Ben Moussalem, un dignitaire saoudien présenté au début de l'été 1993 par M. Takieddine à Edouard Balladur et son directeur de cabinet, Nicolas Bazire, lui aussi mis en examen dans l'affaire.
«J'ai payé ce que je devais au cheik Ali Ben Moussalem
MM. Takieddine et MoussalemMM. Takieddine et Moussalem
a expliqué M. Takieddine.Selon mon souvenir, cela représentait, pour les 75 premiers millions de dollars, les deux-tiers, soit un montant de l'ordre de 50 millions de dollars. J'ai conservé un tiers, que j'ai versé sur un compte suisse. Les 45, je les ai conservés intégralement sur le compte que j'avais à la Banque Méditerranée au Liban. J'avais préalablement consulté le Prince Sultan qui m'avait tout laissé.»
L'addition est simple : le versement de Rafic Hariri aurait donc rapporté 70 millions de dollars à M. Takieddine, auquel il convient d'ajouter 75 millions versés directement par la partie saoudienne avant 1997.
L'intervention de Rafic Hariri auprès de Jacques Chirac et les paiements finalement effectués en faveur de Ziad Takieddine viennent désormais modifier le scénario jusqu'ici avancé par les responsables politiques chiraquiens.

Les scénarios de la corruption

L'ancien ministre de la défense Charles Millon avait en effet assuré l'an dernier avoir reçu l'ordre «dans les quinze jours»suivant sa nomination, en mai 1995, de «procéder à la révision des contrats d'armement», tandis que Dominique de Villepin confirmait la décision prise par le président Chirac«d'annuler certaines commissions». Nul n'a évoqué la possibilité d'un deal. Seulement voilà, celui-ci semble patent et désormais documenté.
Si Rafic Hariri s'est donc substitué à la Sofresa pour régler une partie des commissions, il reste à déterminer sur quels fonds il l'a fait. Ou comment il a été lui-même remboursé des 130 millions de dollars versés à M. Takieddine.
© Reuters
Deux hypothèses sont avancées. Selon M. Takieddine, M. Hariri aurait reçu, en échange de son intervention, le paiement par le royaume saoudien «de factures impayées» à hauteur de 1,3 milliard de dollars. Peu vraisemblable : c'est généralement le vendeur, et non pas l'acheteur, qui verse les commissions... L'origine des fonds est peut-être plutôt à chercher du côté français.
Selon Michel Mazens, ancien patron de la Sofresa, après avoir acté l'annulation officielle des contrats du réseau de M. Takieddine et de ses amis en mars 1997, l'office d'armement a reversé à l'industriel Thalès l'intégralité des commissions prévues.
«Tous les plannings de paiement du client saoudien ont été revus pour que la colonne qui devait payer le réseau "K" - nom du réseau Takideddine, NDLR - aille abonder le compte de l'industriel, Thalès, a déclaré M. Michel Mazens à Mediapart. C'est ce qui a été fait et mis en œuvre.»L'industriel était donc le dépositaire de ces fonds. Il était en capacité d'opérer éventuellement le dédommagement de M. Hariri. C'est la deuxième hypothèse.
Dans des explications successivement relayées par le Journal du Dimanche, Le Nouvel Observateur et Le Monde, Ziad Takieddine va plus loin et assure qu'un «système bis» a été mis en place au sein même de Sofresa. «En remplacement des sociétés Rabor et Estar, dont les contrats ont été détruits, il y a eu trois destinataires. Une partie a bénéficié à une société qui représente M. Chirac. Une autre partie a bénéficié à une autre société qui représente M. de Villepin. La troisième société est celle de M. Djouhri qui chapeaute les trois sociétés.»
A l'appui de sa démonstration, Ziad Takieddine a relevé les versements opérés par la Sofresa après son indemnisation par Rafic Hariri. Ces éléments apparus lors des perquisitions effectuées chez Sofresa - aujourd'hui rebaptisée Odas - en avril dernier ne font évidemment pas apparaître les noms de MM. Chirac, Villepin ou Djouhri.
Il s'agit de versements effectués en faveur de deux sociétés baptisées Parinvest (du groupe saoudien Bugshan) et Issham For Contracting Maintenance, qui ont respectivement reçu 85,4 millions et 1,4 milliard de francs de la Sofresa.
«Il n'y a aucune substitution de réseau, a expliqué de son côté l'ancien patron de Sofresa, M. Michel Mazens à Mediapart. Le groupe Bugshan a été l'un de nos relais, pour des travaux de maintenance sur place, dans le pays client. Quant à la somme importante en faveur de la société Issham, il s'agit d'un versement légal destiné à apurer les commissions prévues au contrat, avant la mise en œuvre de la convention OCDE, qui les interdisait à compter de juin 2000».
Pour tenter d'y voir plus clair dans le maquis comptable des commissions occultes du marché des frégates saoudiennes, les juges Van Ruymbeke et Le Loire ont demandé l'élargissement de leur enquête, pour l'instant limitée à la période 1993-95, aux années suivantes. C'est-à-dire à l'ère Chirac. Le parquet de Paris, à qui il revient de donner une réponse favorable (ou non) à la requête des juges, n'a pas encore rendu sa décision.