Wednesday Reads: Twisted Tales… Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!

Many kids will be missing out on tonight’s Trick or Treating…lots of towns within the path of Sandy have postponed their Halloween festivities.  I just want to put up a couple of links on the aftermath of Sandy then we will get to the juicy stuff.

The New York Times has this list of ways Sandy impacted each state…sort of painting the destruction by numbers if you will.

Tracking the Storm – Interactive Feature –  I will give you a quick peak at a few:

8 Million+ Left without power.
18,000+ Flights canceled.
139 Miles per hour of top wind gust recorded (Mount Washington in New Hampshire).

And here are a some other links on Sandy as reported early this morning (I am writing this at 4 am):

‘Absolute Devastation’ Left by Storm in N.J., Christie Says – SFGate

Sandy’s force leaves millions across East Coast reeling Death, ruination in Eastern US and beyond– The Boston Globe

New York Subway System Faces Weeks to Recover From Storm – Businessweek

46 dead, millions without power, transit after Sandy – Weather | NBC News

Mayor estimates up to 25,000 stranded in Hoboken as flood conditions worsen – The Maddow Blog

Saw this tweet also on the Maddow Blog and thought it was great.

Okay, now let’s move on to some news that I am sure you all missed the past two days.  Do you remember that family that was murdered in the Alps this Summer? There is a wild bit of information being reported about the bank account of one of the victim’s family members. According to The Guardian: Saddam Hussein linked to Alps killings

The former Iraqi dictator deposited a huge sum of money in a Swiss bank account belonging to the father of murdered British engineer Saad al-Hilli, it has been claimed

When I first saw this story in the news, it seemed strange that such a connection is being made. Check it out.

Saddam Hussein deposited £840,000 in a Swiss bank account belonging to the father of the British engineer murdered with his wife and mother-in-law in the Alps, it has been claimed.

Saad al-Hilli, 50, has been linked to the former Iraqi dictator through his father Kadhim, who was once close to the tyrant’s Ba’ath party but fled his homeland for Britain in the 1970s. The money was reportedly deposited into an account in Geneva, an hour’s drive from where the massacre took place on 5 September at a remote spot near Lake Annecy in eastern France.

Hilli, his wife, Iqbal, and his mother-in-law were shot while his seven-year-old daughter, Zainab, was left badly injured and her four-year-old sister, Zeena, deeply traumatised. A French cyclist was also shot dead and the motive for the killings remains a mystery.

A French police source revealed that the money had been traced to Hussein by the German intelligence agency, the BND, according to Le Monde. Agents routinely monitored cash transactions with Baghdad as Germany did more business with the regime than any other country.

An intelligence source in Munich was quoted as saying: “They know the money trail, and they know how to follow it. They have spent decades monitoring money transactions between the west and Iraq. The BND is the first port of call in such circumstances.”

The Guardian states that…

The Le Monde story was published under the headline “The potential links between the al-Hillis and Saddam Hussein.”

It said: “According to a French police source, the German secret service informed the gendarmerie’s anti-terrorist branch that there were links between the al-Hilli family and Saddam Hussein’s fortune. The tensions began after Saad al-Hilli’s father [Kadhim] was struck off the list of beneficiaries of the former Iraqi dictator.”

When Kadhim died he left behind his considerable wealth in a will.

Le Monde identifies the money in the Swiss bank account – and not the inheritance – that may have been at the centre of the conflict. Swiss investigators discovered the secret account earlier this month, but according to Le Mondethey didn’t make the link to Iraq.

Interesting? Hmmmm, I’ve got another news story update with a twist, this one is about that plane crash many months ago that wiped out the entire Polish government. (Well, the president and his administration.)

Explosive traces ‘found on crashed Polish presidential jet’

Traces of explosives have been discovered on the wreck of the Polish presidential jet which crashed in Russia in 2010, killing then president Lech Kaczynski and 95 other people, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

“Tests have confirmed the presence of TNT and nitroglycerine on 30 seats. The substances were also found on the area linking the fuselage with the wing,” Poland’s leading Rzeczpospolita daily said.

The recent tests were conducted by “Polish prosecutors and experts” it said, but testing by Polish and Russian investigator immediately after the 2010 crash had ruled out explosives.

Seem far-fetched? I don’t know…

Rzeczpospolita raised the possibility the reported explosives might be traced to unexploded World War II bombs in Smolensk, an area of western Russia which saw heavy fighting.

“We must wait for prosecutors to draw their conclusions and establish the source of the substance before taking any measures,” government spokesman Pawel Gras told public TVP broadcaster.


…most of the blame for the April 2010 disaster — in which all 96 people on board died — lay with Poland, but also faulted Russia, where the plane went down in thick fog.

It had ruled out “extremist versions” of events, including sabotage and pressure from third parties on the crew to land despite bad weather.

The Russian investigation concluded that there was “psychological pressure” on the crew to land in dangerous weather conditions, prompting Warsaw to criticise their report as incomplete and riddled with errors.

Poland’s conservative Law and Justice party — led by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the late president’s twin brother — has accused Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s centre-right government of failing to take Russia to task.

Sounds like a new Bond flick to me? Talk about Skyfall…Ooof!

A Law and Justice-run parliamentary commission that probed the crash blamed Russia, claiming it had forged the testimony of Smolensk’s air traffic controllers, who it alleged had misled the pilots.

The doomed presidential delegation had been bound for a memorial ceremony in Katyn, near Smolensk, for thousands of Polish army officers slain by the Soviet secret police in 1940, a massacre denied by the Kremlin until 1990.

See what I mean. It’s got everything, intrigue, assassination, KGB and a cover-up. The whole story could be pitched to the movie folks, and I am sure they would go for it. Hey, if Disney paid  George Lucus $4 Billllliooooon dollars for the rights to Star Wars…I am sure we can get Daniel Craig out there saving the world from the USSR. (Romney would definitely think it is a cool docudrama.)

One more strange story, and I believe this was something that Boston Boomer brought up months ago, about Paul Ryan and his brilliant scheme from the mind of Pinochet…Where Did Paul Ryan Find Inspiration for ‘Reforming’ Social Security? A Brutal Military Dictatorship, Naturally

The basis for Ryan’s big plan was hatched under the radical right-wing Chilean torture regime of 1973 military coup leader Augusto Pinochet.

While the Republican Party and its wealthy plutocrat backers have been accused of waging an elitist virtual war against the American majority, both Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan have financial and ideological ties to rich Latin American elites who have waged real wars against average citizens in their countries.

The anti-democratic ethos of today’s GOP, displayed in Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s  apparent contempt  for 47% of U.S. citizens, is reflected in the origins of Mitt Romney’s private equity firm Bain Capital, which was  founded with money from Central American financiers linked to government-backed death squads in El Salvador. Paul Ryan’s budgetary ideas have a similarly dark origin, in the paradigmatic case of what author Naomi Klein has dubbed  “The Shock Doctrine” .

In August 2012, Republican political consultant Roger Stone made the  accusation that the billionaire libertarian Koch Brothers had bought Mitt Romney’s selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate, by offering to kick in $100 million more for “independent expenditures” in the 2012 presidential election.

While the charge may never be substantiated, Paul Ryan is  one of the few  elected officials allowed into the inner sanctum of the Koch brothers and their fellow libertarian big money donor circle.

We know the Koch brothers have always been up to no good.

It is also the case that Paul Ryan’s Social Security privatization ideas  closely track  Koch Brother schemes promoted from the Koch-funded libertarian Cato Institute since 1980, over three decades ago – before Ryan had even hit puberty. Cato’s website currently features the ringing  endorsement of Paul Ryan…

“Ryan is an articulate defender of free enterprise, and he consistently argues not just for the practical advantages of smaller government but also about the moral imperative to cut… if the next administration is Republican, and if it decides it wants to push major reforms, Paul Ryan is uniquely qualified to lead the charge.”

In 2005 Congressman Paul Ryan led a failed Republican legislative push for a Social Security privatization plan that also later popped up in Ryan’s 2010 “Roadmap For America’s Future”. This  centerpiece of Ryan’s budgetary vision traces back to a vicious war on the poor and middle class that was waged over three decades ago by a South American police state.

The conceptual basis of Ryan’s Social Security privatization approach was hatched as the  Piñera plan  that was  implemented under the radical right-wing Chilean torture regime of 1973 military coup leader Augusto Pinochet.

Give that article a read…very interesting indeed.

That is all I have for you this morning, but it should be a pretty good start, ay?