Saturday, July 23, 2005

11 Security Breaches in Plame Case 

YubaNet, July 22:

New Fact Sheet Details Multiple Administration Security Breaches Involving Valerie Plame Wilson

by Rep. Henry Waxman

The disclosure of the covert identity of Valerie Plame Wilson in a July 14, 2003, column by Robert Novak has triggered a criminal investigation and led to calls for congressional investigations. The Novak column, however, appears to be only one of multiple leaks of Ms. Wilson's identity. A new fact sheet released today by Rep. Waxman documents that there appear to be at least 11 separate instances in which Administration officials disclosed information about Ms. Wilson's identity and association with the CIA.

On July 14, 2003, columnist Robert Novak revealed that the wife of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, Valerie Plame Wilson, was a covert CIA agent. This disclosure of classified information has triggered a criminal investigation by a Special Counsel and led to calls for congressional investigations. ..

[read more]

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Bush Is Covering Up to Hide His Own Guilt in the Rove/Plame Case 

A classified State Department memorandum central to a federal leak investigation contained information about CIA officer Valerie Plame in a paragraph marked "(S)" for secret, a clear indication that any Bush administration official who read it should have been aware the information was classified, according to current and former government officials.

Plame -- who is referred to by her married name, Valerie Wilson, in the memo -- is mentioned in the second paragraph of the three-page document, which was written on June 10, 2003, by an analyst in the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR), according to a source who described the memo to The Washington Post. ...

[read more]

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Venezia Background 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 20:

by Michael Shaw

The gambling case that the federal government brought 10 years ago against Thomas Venezia gave him a notoriety that outstripped anything else he had done in life.

Part of it was the money (the take from Venezia's gambling empire was estimated at up to $48 million over six years), but the bigger part was the people Venezia associated with - primarily his friend and lawyer, Amiel Cueto of Belleville.

Prosecutors later went after Cueto and, with Venezia's testimony, sent him to prison for six years.

The cases against Venezia and Cueto would help propel one of the lead prosecutors, Miriam Miquelon, into the U.S. attorney's job, albeit briefly.

And even U.S. Rep. Jerry Costello, D-Belleville, would be drawn into the case, as an "unindicted co-conspirator." Costello was never charged with a crime. He had been a friend from boyhood of Cueto's. ...

[read more]

Top RFT Advertiser and Stripper Die Violently 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch, July 20:

by Denise Hollinshed, Michael Shaw and William Lamb

Thomas Venezia, who ran a gambling empire in the Metro East area until he was dethroned by the federal government 10 years ago, was found dead Tuesday morning in his Belleville house along with his live-in girlfriend.

Venezia, 64, was found in a recliner, a bullet in his head and a pistol and suicide note by his side. The body of Jennifer Anderson, 21, was found on the kitchen floor, shot with the same .38-caliber pistol. Police say Venezia shot Anderson then turned the gun on himself.

St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said Venezia and Anderson had been dead for at least 48 hours. The bodies were discovered about 10 a.m. Tuesday by a friend of Venezia's who went to the house in the 300 block of Mascoutah Avenue because he had not seen him since Sunday.

Over six years, Venezia made up to $48 million by placing video slot and poker machines at dozens of Illinois taverns, paying off winners illegally and splitting the profits with bar owners. His prison sentence was reduced to nine years from 15 after he testified against his attorney and business partner, Amiel Cueto. ...

[read more]

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Blast from the Past: My 1990 UFO Roundup for the RFT 

Reading about the 1955 disappearance of obscure San Francisco-based poet Weldon Kees this morning made me think of the weird literary scene in the city by the bay during that era, specifically the work of British philosopher Gerald Heard, who theorized on the existence of extraterrestrials as early as 1952. Seizing on the anti-communism of the time, however, Heard told a St. Louis audience that the rash of recent UFO sightings could be evidence of a Soviet outer-space weapons system. I stumbled across Heard's fanciful ideas while doing research on a UFO story for the Riverfront times in the summer of 1990, many years ago. ...

Watch the skies
By C. D. Stelzer

first published in the Riverfront Times, Aug. 1, 1990

The wall behind my desk is papered with
topographical maps. Scientific nursery primers like
the Golden Book of Geology are strewn about a room
already littered by an arcane dissertation entitled
"Uranium in Precambrian Granitic Rocks of the St.
Francois Mountains."

My own cryptic notes are less decipherable, if they
can be located amid this morass. When outdoors, my
brow knits and one eye remains cocked heavenward. I
haven't shaved in days, and in the last month have
discussed possible extraterrestrial activity with
the "Spirit of Elvis."

I have entered the Twilight Zone of journalism: UFO

One slight solace is those who have gone before,
those who have journeyed to the Outer Limits of
credulity and returned, if not unscathed, at least
still walking on their hind legs.
Herein lie pieces of their work, a random and
totally unscientific survey of local UFO stories
from 1951 through 1985.

The UFO files are pregnant with newsprint snippets
of yellowing weirdness -- Mo-Mo, Buck Nelson's trip
to Mars, quests for a dead space alien thought to
be buried in 1897 near Aurora, Texas.
The oldest news clipping on "flying saucers" in the
St. Louis Globe Democrat files is dated Aug. 16,

It reports that a Baden housewife, Mrs. Elmer
Duswelle, her husband and son all viewed the
"unidentified object also called a "whatsit," a
term that then vied for popularity with "flying

The first mention of "UFO" in the Globe came in
1960. The acronym can likely be attributed to a
headline writer's concern with a different form of
space. A check of reported sightings reveals
monetary descriptions coming in "nickel," "dime,"
and "half dollar" denominations.

In the 1970s one observer characterized a UFO as
"four times the size of a frisbee." Another UFO at
that time was said to be like a "strobe light," the
latter image conjured by a physicist not a hippie.
In a gymnastic parallel, one account described an
object as "somersaulting"; in another athletic
analogy, a UFO sported "basketball sized windows.

Inner recesses of kitchen cabinets brough forth
metaphorical allusions to an "egg," and
"upside-down bowl," and a "coffee cup."
Other attempts to define the unexplainable include:
"10-quart bucket," "washtub," "cigar," "bullet,"
"boomerang" and "acetylene torch."

Descriptions span the spectrum from the prosaic
"starlike" to the proverbial "wheel," and image
first turned in the Old Testament book of Ezekiel.
Mrs. Horace Ash of Alton called her 1956 encounter
" a thing of awe-inspiring beauty, rounded in
front, tapering toward the back, in perfect
symmetry with a a fringe of bright lights." Ash's
prophetic vision would soon levitate to the drawing
boards of Detroit's automotive industry, with one
important exception: Her poetry in motion didn't
seem affected by gravity.

While lecturing to a capacity crowd at McDonnell
Planetarium in 1970, the late astronomer J. Allen
Hynek, a former Air Force consultant, compared the
dilemma faced by credible UFO witnesses to that of
"an aborigine describing a television."
An earlier St. Louis lecturer, British philosopher
Gerald Heard, told a 1952 audience at Washington
University that the objects could be secret weapons
constructed by Russia.

Stranger than Cold War theories are those of Major
Wayne S. Aho, who in 1973 lectured at Lindenwood
College. The retired Army officer postulated that
the Earth had been populated by descendants of the
planet "Maldek."

Another retired officer, Marine Major Donald Kehoe,
warned in a St. Louis lecture of a CIA cover-up.
The Globe-Democrat reported that Kehoe, speaking in
1966 before the American Institute of Aeronautics
and Astronautics, at the old Musial and Biggie's
restaurant, "claimed the Air Force, in its effort
to debunk the sightings, is acting on orders of the
Central Intelligence Agency. He said the Air Force
and the CIA are aided by a variety of 'kooks.'

Kehoe's allegations came years before the
congressional investigations and Freedom of
Information Act requests exposed other bizarre CIA
activities, including wiring people on LSD and
consulting psychics for espionage purposes.
The strangest tale in the UFO catalog is that of
Marshall Herff Applewhite Jr., origins unknown.

In 1975, Applewhite and partner Bonnie Lou
Truesdale Nettles, known as the "The Two,"
convinced more than 100 people to abandon all
worldly possessions, leave families and prepare to
depart aboard their tentatively scheduled UFO.
authorities found no intent to defraud. A police
record check, however, did reveal that Applewhite
had been booked the year before on auto theft
charges in St. Louis county. when arrested,
Applewhite listed his occupation as freelance

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