Aug 28, 2009

Khalid bin Mahfouz

The Serial Libel Tourist is dead, but Libel Tourism is alive and well.

Libel Tourism is so effective that the Western media apparently fear even to report the serial suer Khalid bin Mahfouz's death.

By Rachel Ehrenfeld and Millard Burr

Saudi billionaire Khalid bin Mahfouz died in Jeddah last Saturday. The 60 year old former owner of the Saudi National Commercial Bank, and banker for the royal family, also owned a charity, the Muwafaq (blessed relief) Foundation, that funded al-Qaeda and Hamas, to name but a few.

He should be remembered not only because of his involvement with the shady Bank for Commerce and Credit International (BCCI) aka “banks for crooks and criminal,” and the illegal purchase of the First American Bank in Washington, DC, but mostly because inadvertently he led Americans to better protect their free speech rights.

Using British libel laws that allow foreigners to sue other foreigners in British courts, a practice known as libel tourism, Mahfouz became a serial suer. He, sometimes together with his sons, sued more than 40 writers and publishers - mostly Americans - because he did not like their criticisms. Single handedly, on behalf of his royal masters, he made libel tourism a multi million dollars industry for the British Bar, and made London the “Libel Capital” of the world.

Many will miss him. In Riyadh, he will be missed by the ruling members of the royal family who once used his National Commercial Bank as their own piggy bank, and often used him and his family members as fronts for their business and to fund their favorite organizations and terrorist groups. Likewise, those shady characters who ran the Saudi funded Muslim World League, the International Islamic Relief Agency and the Rabita Trust of Pakistan will miss him.

The Georgetown alum (1968) Prince Turki bin Faisal, former Saudi ambassador to the U.K. and the U.S. and director of Saudi Arabia’s General Intelligence Department from 1977 until ten days before 9/11, and responsible for the Saudi financial aid of the jihad in Afghanistan, will have lost an old friend.

Bin Mahfouz will certainly be missed by a circle of notorious Saudi plutocrats who make an appearance in the annual Forbes list of the world's wealthiest citizens, many defendants in the lawsuits filed by the victims of the 9/11 attacks. There are the Raji, the Bin Laden, the Al Amoudi, and such other disreputable individuals as designated terrorist Yassin al Qadi, who run some of Mahfouz’s businesses and charities such as the Muwafaq foundation, that funded al-Qaeda and Hamas.

Al Qaeda, Hamas, and Taliban leaders must be grief stricken and worried; would his sons be as generous as he was?

It is supposed that Mahfouz retained a powerful friend in Washington in James A. Baker, III. Baker, who served as chief-of-staff to Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State under George H. W. Bush, joined Mahfouz during the roaring seventies when Houston was known as Riyadh-west. They worked together through the heady days and even through the bankruptcy of the second-largest banking organization in Texas, MCorp, in the late nineteen eighties. During the dark days of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), Mahfouz could count on Baker, his man in the White House, to keep him out of jail, no matter how persistent the pressure applied by New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau.

Obviously, the ruling family of Abu Dhabi will be thinking different thoughts as they recall the $596 million they paid for the privilege of purchasing Mahfouz’s shares in BCCI, and were then left holding the bag as the bank went under.

Irish politicians, particularly the disgraced former prime minister Charles Haughey will recall those wondrous days in 1990 he received $85,000 from Mahfouz, so that Mahfouz and nine members of his family would paying $1 million each, would obtain an Irish passport, thus allowing easy commercial entree to the European market.

Surviving members of the Hunt family of Texas likely have mixed feeling on the death of Mahfouz. Bunker Hunt, scion of one of the world's richest men had used John Connally, former Governor of Texas and Secretary of the Navy, as his go-between in an effort to entice Mahfouz to join in his play to corner the market in silver bullion. Mahfouz then induced member of the Saudi royal family to join in, and they, like Mahfouz, would lose a fortune. Nearly driven to suicide, Mahfouz was comforted by Salem Bin Laden, perhaps his closest friend ever.

On the West Coast, Boeing directors must recall with fondness the 5% they paid Mahfouz, the fixer, to win perhaps their largest contract ever. And the middlemen in Saudi Arabia who also benefited from their involvement with Mahfouz in clinching the deal must be reminiscing.

As for Osama bin Laden, wherever he is, the al Qaeda leader probably remembers with some affection the days spent with his brother, Salem bin Laden and Khaled bin Mahfouz at their jointly-held River Oaks estate in Houston, TX. With Mahfouz gone, Osama’s “golden chain” of wealthy Saudi funders, has been reduced by a link. The international law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, must be sad to have lost this wealthy and most litigious client. Likewise, the English Bar must be shedding crocodile tears, especially those lawyers who represented Mahfouz.

Justice David Eady would surely miss Mahfouz. The cases he brought before Eady whose judgments made both both Mahfouz and the Justice (in)famous for making Libel Tourism a weapon to silence critics of Saudi Arabia the world over. Even the U.N. Human rights commission warned Britain last year that its libel tourism industry has become a tool to suppress the media’s free speech rights and endangers national security.

The serial Libel Tourist Khalid bin Mahfouz is dead. But the jihad against the West he helped fund together with the pernicious British libel tourism practices, are alive and well. Unfortunately, the U.S. has done nothing to stop his activities on either front when he was alive. New York State, Florida, and Illinois have already passed anti- libel tourism laws, and another has just been passed unanimously by the California legislature.

A federal law to protect Americans’ free speech is a legacy Mahfouz never intended to leave behind. Indeed, he was so successful in his efforts to intimidate reports about him that amazingly the Western media refrained from reporting his death. However, his libel tourism led to the Free Speech Protection Act 2009, now pending in the Senate. One hopes the bill passes as soon as Congress reconvenes so that the instigative journalists and researchers can expose others like him before they do us harm.

(Rachel Ehrenfeld’s book Funding Evil, and Millard Burr’s Alms for Jihad, were banned in the U.K. after Mahfouz’s libel tourism hobby was rewarded, as many times before, by Justice Eady’s ruling against them in London’s High Court.)

Aug 25, 2009

Obama's current kill rate #7


Wahyusamputra writes "If the main problem in dealing with the Taliban is indeed that militants are holding hostage or using as shields women and children as western governments and their paid hacks insist, that makes it all the more impossible to understand why the British government is using barymetric weapons, as it has now admitted it is doing, which kill everyone in a building but leave the building standing for future use."

Aug 22, 2009

Baby Bush

The Daily Reckoning Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baby Bush: The Worst President in History? By Doug Casey Vancouver, British Columbia

...Most of our subscribers to The Casey Report appear to be libertarians or classical liberals - i.e., people who believe in a maximum of both social and economic freedom for the individual.

The next largest group are "conservatives." It's a bit harder to define a conservative. Is it someone who atavistically just wants to conserve the existing order of things (either now, or perhaps as they perceived them 50, or 100, or 200, or however many years ago)? Or is a conservative someone who believes in limiting social freedoms (generally that means suppressing things like sex, drugs, outré clothing and customs, and bad-mouthing the government) while claiming to support economic freedoms (although with considerable caveats and exceptions)? It's unclear to me what, if any, philosophical foundation conservatism, by whatever definition, rests on.

Which leads me to the question: Why do conservatives seem to have this warm and fuzzy feeling for George W. Bush? I can only speculate it's because Bush liked to talk a lot about freedom and traditional American values, and did so in such an ungrammatical way that it made him seem sincere. Bush's tendency to fumble words and concepts contrasted to Clinton's eloquence, which made him look "slick."

I'm forced to the conclusion that what "conservatives" like about Bush is his style, such as it was. Because the only good thing I can recall that Bush ever did was to shepherd through some tax cuts. But even these were targeted and piecemeal, tossing bones to favored interests, rather than any principled abolition of any levies or a wholesale cut in rates.

Is it possible that Bush was actually the worst president ever? I'd say he's a strong contender. He started out with a gigantic lie - that he would cut the size of government, reduce taxes, and stay out of foreign wars - and things got much worse from there. Let's look at just some of the highpoints in the catalog of disasters the Bush regime created.

No Child Left Behind. Forget about abolishing the Department of Education. Bush made the federal government a much more intrusive and costly part of local schools.

Project Safe Neighborhoods. A draconian law that further guts the 2nd Amendment, like 20,000 other unconstitutional gun laws before it.

Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. This the largest expansion of the welfare state since LBJ and will cost the already bankrupt Medicare system trillions more.

Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Possibly the most expensive and restrictive change to the securities laws since the '30s. A major reason why companies will either stay private or go public outside the US.

Katrina. A total disaster of bureaucratic mismanagement, featuring martial law.
Ownership Society. The immediate root of the current financial crisis lies in Bush's encouragement of easy credit to everybody and inflating the housing market.

Nationalizations and Bailouts. In response to the crisis he created, he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and passed by far the largest bailouts in US history (until OBAMA!).

Free-Speech Zones. Originally a device for keeping war protesters away when Bush appeared on camera, they're now used to herd.

The Patriot Act. This 132-page bill, presented for passage only 45 days after 9/11 (how is it possible to write something of that size and complexity in only 45 days?) basically allows the government to do whatever it wishes with its subjects.

Warrantless searches. All kinds of communications monitoring. Greatly expanded asset forfeiture provisions.

The War on Terror. The scope of the War on Drugs (which Bush also expanded) is exceeded only by the war on nobody in particular but on a tactic. It's become a cause of mass hysteria and an excuse for the government doing anything.

Invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq. Bush started two completely pointless, counterproductive, and immensely expensive wars, neither of which has any prospect of ending anytime soon.

Dept. of Homeland Security. This is the largest and most dangerous of all agencies, now with its own gigantic campus in Washington, DC. It will never go away and centralizes the functions of a police state.

Guantanamo. Hundreds of individuals, most of them (like the Uighurs recently in the news) guilty only of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, are incarcerated for years. A precedent is set for anyone who is accused of being an "enemy combatant" to be completely deprived of any rights at all.

Abu Ghraib and Torture. After imprisoning scores of thousands of foreign nationals, Bush made it a US policy to use torture to extract information, based on a suspicion or nothing but a guard's whim. This is certainly one of the most damaging things to the reputation of the US ever. It says to the world, "We stand for nothing."

The No-Fly List. His administration has placed the names of over a million people on this list, and it's still growing at about 20,000 a month. I promise it will be used for other purposes in the future...

The TSA. Somehow the Bush cabal found 50,000 middle-aged people who were willing to go through their fellow citizens' dirty laundry and take themselves quite seriously. God forbid you're not polite to them...

Farm Subsidies. Farm subsidies are the antithesis of the free market. Rather than trying to abolish or cut them back, Bush signed a record $190 billion farm bill.

Legislative Free Ride. And he vetoed less of what Congress did than any other president in history.

The only reason I can imagine why a person who is not "evil" (to use a word he favored), completely uninformed, or thoughtless would favor Bush is because he wasn't a Democrat. Not that there's any real difference between the two parties anymore...

"Why do conservatives seem to have this warm and fuzzy feeling for George W. Bush? I can only speculate it’s because Bush liked to talk a lot about freedom and traditional American values, and did so in such an ungrammatical way that it made him seem sincere."

As disastrous as he was, I rather hate to put him in competition for "worst president" in the company of Lincoln, McKinley, Wilson, the two Roosevelts, Truman, Johnson, and Nixon. He is simply too small a character - psychologically aberrant, ignorant, unintelligent, shallow, duplicitous, small-minded - to merit inclusion in any list. On second thought, looking over that list of his personal characteristics, he's probably most like FDR, except he lacked FDR's polish and rhetorical skills. I suspect he'll just fade away as a non-entity, recognized as an embarrassment. Not even worth the trouble of hanging by his heels from a lamppost, although Americans aren't (yet) accustomed to doing that to their leaders. Those who once supported him will, at least if they have any circumspection and intellectual honesty, feel shame at how dim they were to have been duped by a nobody.

The worst shame of Bush - worse than the spending, the new agencies, the torture, or the wars - is that he used so much pro-liberty and pro- free-market rhetoric in the very process of destroying those institutions. That makes his actions ten times worse than if an avowed socialist had done the same thing. People will blame the full suite of disasters Bush caused on the free market simply because Bush constantly said he believed in it.

And he's left OBAMA! with a fantastic starting point for what I expect to be even greater intrusions into your life and finances. Eventually, the Bush era will look like The Good Old Days. But only in the way that the Romans looked back with nostalgia on Tiberius and Claudius after they got Caligula. And then Nero. And then the first of many imperial coups and civil wars.

Regards, Doug Casey for The Daily Reckoning


"There is a tragic flaw in our precious Constitution, and I don't know what can be done to fix it. This is it: only nut cases want to be president. This was true even in high school. Only clearly disturbed people ran for class president." - Kurt Vonnegut.

Aug 20, 2009

Ethnicity - The Golden Age,3858,5277040-117540,00.html

'It reminds me of Baghdad in the worst of times'

Julian Borger in New Orleans Saturday September 3, 2005 Guardian

The sprawling convention centre in New Orleans was no doubt once a source of civic pride, but yesterday the concrete and glass edifice was a symbol of national shame, giving out a stench that could be smelt two blocks away.

A dense mass of people - perhaps 20,000, almost all of them black - packed the cavernous building and filled the surrounding pavement, sitting amid debris left by Hurricane Katrina and the rubbish accumulated in four days of waiting for help.

A knot of police officers, mostly white, watched the throng warily from a small side road, armed with rifles and pump-action shotguns. More police watched from the Greater New Orleans Bridge high above.

They were the only sign that the official world was aware of the plight of the crowd below - and that was as close as they got. The previous day, some military rations and water had been dropped by relief workers from the bridge on to the car park. It was as if being poor and black was a contagious disease.

If so, it was becoming a self-fulfilling dread. Inside the building, the toilets had become blocked after the first day, and by yesterday the air wafting from them was so noxious it felt like a blow to the face.

A policewoman near the centre brandishing a shotgun said she had no news of the promised help from the army and the National Guard. "They've been saying they're going to send in troops since day one. We haven't seen anything yet."

Walking from her informal checkpoint to the crowd across the road was like crossing a boundary between the first and third world. On the other side, many people were clearly too ill to walk and several seemed close to starving.

Inside the centre, no one could understand why they were being treated in this way. "If you can drive in like that, how come they can't come and get us?" Henry Carr, a 38-year-old furniture salesman, said.

Everyone was frantic to know whether the buses would turn up. For days, they had been told to stay in the centre so they could be picked up, but the promised transport had failed to materialise. Buses had arrived for the people trapped at the Louisiana Superdome stadium, a mile to the north, but it seemed the convention centre, a lesser landmark, had been forgotten. The latest rumour was that the buses would come later that afternoon, but that would already be too late for up to a dozen people who had died waiting.

Two of the bodies had been dumped by an employees' entrance. They were both old and frail women. One had died in her wheelchair; a blanket had been thrown over her face. The other woman had been wrapped in a sheet.

A man walked past the bodies dragging a pallet loaded with big bottles of ginger ale, some plates and a frying pan. To the rest of America watching the tragedy unfold on their televisions, he was one of the looters, denounced by President Bush.

But to the people inside the convention centre, he was one of a band of heroes keeping them alive. "The people who were going into the stores would give us water and food, said Edna Harris, Henry Carr's aunt. "There would be ladies with babies and they had no milk, and these guys would break in and bring them milk."

Kyle Turner, a 28-year-old dishwasher, was looking for some clean water. "My son is six months old and we got no milk. I just got two cans of powdered milk, and I need some water for it," he said.

In addition to the constant squalor, the thousands left in the centre had to contend with the fear of gangs of young men. Everybody talked about it. One woman said she held her children's hands tight all night because there were stories circulating of thugs who took young girls and boys to the upper stories of the centre and raped them. It was impossible to confirm the rumours but there was no mistaking the fear they inspired.

By late morning, a possible sign of hope had arrived. A lone soldier stood by the side of a red civilian pick-up holding a rifle and talking to some of the stranded civilians. He would not give his name, but the patch on his shoulder indicated he was from the 101st Airborne, an elite division which has spent much of the past two years in Iraq. "Kind of reminds me of Baghdad in the worst of times," he said shaking his head. Then he got into his pick-up and drove off.

William Schaefer, one of the few white men in the crowd, looked on in disgust. "We're dying one, two a day here. Why don't they come for us?"

• Musician Fats Domino, 77, thought to have been missing after refusing to evacuate, was yesterday reported to be safe after being picked up by a boat with his wife and at least one of his daughters near his home in New Orleans.

Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2005


Wahyusamputra writes "In the nineteenth century, nationalism; in the twentieth century, ideology; in the twenty-first century, ethnicity."

Aug 18, 2009

Let them inflate!

The Daily Reckoning Monday, August 17, 2009 PRESENTS: According to the Mighty Mogambo, inflation is the worst thing that can happen to an economy. Why, then, are Paul Krugman and Ben Bernanke suggesting that we permit such as disastrous economic phenomenon? Well, according to the Mogambo, it's because they're low-life ignoramuses who don't know what they're talking about - AKA Keynesians. Read on...

Let Them Inflate by The Mogambo Guru Tampa Bay, Florida

I think that Paul Krugman is one of those absurd guys that has no idea what in the hell he is talking about and who owes his undeserved prominence to being a real butt-kissing sucker-upper to Alan Greenspan and his Federal Reserve, and now he's doing the same thing to the laughable Ben Bernanke and his disastrous Federal Reserve, although I will admit that I don't know why anybody listens to this guy.

I say this with such obvious disrespect because Mr. Krugman is on record has having advised the Bank of Japan to purposely cause inflation, as, "The way to make monetary policy effective is for the central bank to credibly promise to be irresponsible - to make a persuasive case that it will permit inflation to occur, thereby producing the negative real interest rates the economy needs", although he never actually says where he is going to find guys stupid enough to loan money at negative interest rates, or in what bizarre alternate universe he lives where high inflation in consumer prices, particularly sustained high inflation, is anything other than a total disaster, which is why most of economics is concerned with the problem of preventing inflation while fostering growth!

In fact, he thinks that a central bank trying to reflate a collapsing economy should announce a deliberate plan to raise the level of prices (such as the Consumer Price Index) from current low levels to some dramatically higher value (a so-called "price-level gap") that it would have theoretically reached if a "moderate" and constant amount of inflation in prices had, in fact, occurred! Gaaahhhh!

To make it more Theater of the Absurd, he then says to keep creating more inflation in prices! Gaaahhhh! This is insane! This is beyond insane!

This would be bad enough coming from just another egghead academic dork from Princeton, but a terrifying quote from Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, shows that he agrees with this nonsense!

In fact, Bernanke said, "A successful effort to eliminate the price- level gap would proceed, roughly, in two stages. During the first stage, the inflation rate would exceed the long-term desired inflation rate, as the price-level gap was eliminated and the effects of previous deflation undone. Call this the reflationary phase of policy. Second, once the price-level target was reached, or nearly so, the objective for policy would become a conventional inflation target or a price- level target that increases over time at the average desired rate of inflation."

This is so dangerously preposterous that one's hands shake in fear and paranoia at the calamity that awaits a nation that takes such ridiculous advice, and there is nothing to be done except to buy more gold, silver and oil, as the last 4,500 years of history have proven that these are the things that have lasting value, unlike the bitter disappointment and dismay of paper money and "true love."

"...inflation in prices is the worst thing that can happen to us, and which is exactly what is going to happen to us because the damnable Federal Reserve is creating unbelievable, staggering amounts of money and credit..."

Obviously, people do not have to be around me very long before they learn that I am perpetually scared, to one degree or another, of inflation in prices, such as the other day, for example, when I had saved up enough money to have dinner alone at a restaurant so that I could eat one lousy meal without the wife and kids all the time whining and complaining about how they need more money, and want more money, and how they want me to give it to them, and how I am a terrible person for not giving them more money, how I am too stupid to get a better job to make more money and how I am too lazy to get a second job with which to earn more money.

So instead of having to listen to them talk about how much they hate me, I am enjoying the peaceful qualities of the restaurant when a guy seated at the next table sees me eating my steak and asks me how I liked it.

So I told him, "I like it fine, except I wanted lobster! Rich, flakey lobster to dip into real melted butter so wickedly delicious that you can actually hear your arteries hardening from just looking at it; but I can't order lobster because inflation in prices caused by the Federal Reserve creating so much money and credit all these years has resulted in the ugly news that they now charge too much for lobster, and inflation is so bad that some crappy, weak iced tea is almost two bucks a lousy glassful, most of which is ice!"

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see the other people in the restaurant have stopped eating and they are all looking at me. Figuring that they want me to further enlighten them, I go on, "So don't you ask to me about how I like my steak, when you should be asking me how I like inflation in prices, which I don't! Not one little bit! And if you weren't so stupid, you would realize that inflation in prices is the worst thing that can happen to us, and which is exactly what is going to happen to us because the damnable Federal Reserve is creating unbelievable, staggering amounts of money and credit so that the federal government can borrow and spend it in an orgy of deficit spending that will end badly!"

Well, pretty soon the manager comes over and tries to censor the Heroic And Brave Mogambo (HABM) by telling me to shut up and sit down, although he might have been interested in the actual inflation figures, which are pretty bad!

For instance, producer price inflation shot up 1.8% in June, and it seems especially interesting that the Labor Department figures that the Consumer Price Index rose 0.7% in June, and although 0.7% does not seem like that much in one month, it adds up to a lot over the course of time; like for instance, in a year, when this 0.7% per month inflation compounds to 8.7% per year inflation! Yow!

Until next time,The Mogambo Guru for The Daily Reckoning

P.S. And if you want another reason to buy gold, silver and oil - as if you could possibly need another reason after the trillions of other reasons to do so that are smacking you in the face every time you turn around - then this is it, although there is no reason to hurry, as this is only the beginning of something that is going to be Very, Very Long (VVL) and Very, Very Ugly (VVU).

Thank goodness buying gold and silver as investments is so easy! Whee!

Editor's Note: Richard Daughty is general partner and COO for Smith Consultant Group, serving the financial and medical communities, and the editor of The Mogambo Guru economic newsletter - an avocational exercise to heap disrespect on those who desperately deserve it.

The Mogambo Guru is quoted frequently in Barron's, The Daily Reckoning and other fine publications.