Thursday, October 06, 2005
ROME - Five people, including a convicted Mafia figure, went on trial Thursday for murder in the 1982 death of the Italian financier known as "God's banker" for his close ties with the Vatican.
The body of Roberto Calvi was found hanging from scaffolding under London's Blackfriars Bridge on June 18, 1982, with rocks and cash stuffed into his suit.
Although initially ruled a suicide, his family pressed for further investigation, and Italian prosecutors concluded in 2003 that he had been slain.
Calvi was a key figure in one of modern Italy's biggest banking scandals, which involved elements of the country's power brokers — businessmen, politicians, Masonic groups and the Vatican hierarchy.
He was found dead as his Banco Ambrosiano collapsed following the disappearance of $1.3 billion in loans the bank had provided to several dummy companies in Latin America.
The Vatican had provided letters of credit for the loans, and the Vatican's bank agreed to pay $250 million to Ambrosiano's creditors but denied any wrongdoing.
Prosecutors have alleged that Calvi was murdered in a ruthless Mafia vendetta, while defense lawyers claim the financier committed suicide as Banco Ambrosiano collapsed in the fraud scandal.
Sunday, October 02, 2005
by Jim VandeHei and Walter "Pinky" Pincus
As the CIA leak investigation heads toward its expected conclusion this month, it has become increasingly clear that two of the most powerful men in the Bush administration were more involved in the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame than the White House originally indicated.
With New York Times reporter Judith Miller's release from jail Thursday and testimony Friday before a federal grand jury, the role of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's chief of staff, came into clearer focus. Libby, a central figure in the probe since its earliest days and the vice president's main counselor, discussed Plame with at least two reporters but testified that he never mentioned her name or her covert status at the CIA, according to lawyers in the case.
His story is similar to that of Karl Rove, President Bush's top political adviser. Rove, who was not an initial focus of the investigation, testified that he, too, talked with two reporters about Plame but never supplied her name or CIA role.
Their testimony seems to contradict what the White House was saying a few months after Plame's CIA job became public.
In October 2003, White House spokesman Scott McClellan told reporters that he personally asked Libby and Rove whether they were involved, "so I could come back to you and say they were not involved." Asked if that was a categorical denial of their involvement, he said, "That is correct." ...
FOR the first time, American soldiers who personally tortured Iraqi prisoners have come forward to give testimony to human rights organisations about crimes they committed.
Three soldiers – a captain and two sergeants – from the 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Forward Operating Base (FOB) Mercury near Fallujah in Iraq have told Human Rights Watch how prisoners were tortured both as a form of stress relief and as a way of breaking them for interrogation sessions.
These latest revelations about the torture of Iraqi detainees come at a time when the Bush administration thought it could draw a line under the scandal of Abu Ghraib following last week’s imprisonment of Private Lynndie England for her now infamous role in the abuse of prisoners and the photographing of torture.
The 82nd Airborne soldiers at FOB Mercury earned the nickname “The Murderous Maniacs” from local Iraqis and took the moniker as a badge of honour.
The soldiers referred to their Iraqi captives as PUCs – persons under control – and used the expressions “f***ing a PUC” and “smoking a PUC” to refer respectively to torture and forced physical exertion. ...
Near the end of a round table discussion on ABC’s This-Week-Bush-Cheney-Plame-10-02-05.movThis Week, George Stephanopoulos dropped this bomb:
Definitely a political problem but I wonder, George Will, do you think it’s a manageable one for the White House especially if we don’t know whether Fitzgerald is going to write a report or have indictments but if he is able to show as a source close to this told me this week, that President Bush and Vice President Cheney were actually involved in some of these discussions.
This would explain why Bush spent more than an hour answering questions from special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. It would also fundamentally change the dynamics of the scandal. President Bush could no longer claim he was merely a bystander who wants to “get to the bottom of it.” As Stephanopoulos notes, if Bush played a direct role it could make this scandal completely unmanageable.
Michelle Jimenez, the then-wife
of Miami federal prosecutor Marcos Jimenez,
says cheese with the late Barbara K. Olson at a
Bush family fete thrown by James Baker's law
Milli Gazette (India), Oct. 2:
She was "dead" when her flight hit Pentagon on 9-11 and made a hole of half the size of the plane
According to TomFlocco.com, French and American intelligence agents have arrested Barbara Olson, the wife of a former Bush administration official, a few days ago on the Polish-German border, according to agents close to and with knowledge of the incident.
The alleged 9-11 Pentagon crash victim was found to be in possession of millions in fake interbank Italian (sic) Lyra currency, according to the agents.
Olson was also reportedly in possession of a fraudulent Vatican passport and was held on charges of counterfeiting.
Barbara K. Olson, the former Fox News TV commentator and Independent Women's Forum activist, was said to have called her husband Theodore Olson from her plane to seek help in countering hijackers who had allegedly taken over American flight 77 which the Bush administration said was crashed into the Pentagon- although the impact only left an opening approximately 16 feet across. ...
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Sept. 30:
[go to original]
from Q&A with business reporter Martin Van Der Werf
Van Der Werf: The father of one of the founders, John Ferrara, was reputed to be part of the Mafia. So there always have been rumors that Pasta House was started in part with mob money.
Kim Tucci: John would turn over in his grave. Mr. John was a neat guy; he sold wholesale foods. But they were all rumors. It was so far from the truth, but it is amazing how things grow like that. ...
[read more about Ferarra's alleged Mafia ties]