11.22.2003

MYSTERY SURROUNDS DEATH of STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL

November 22, 2003 (FTW), WASHINGTON -- In a case eerily reminiscent of the death of British Ministry of Defense bio-weapons expert, Dr. David Kelly, an official of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research Near East and South Asian division (INR/NESA), John J. Kokal, 58, was found dead in the late afternoon of November 7. Police indicated he may have jumped from the roof of the State Department. Kokal's body was found at the bottom of a 20 foot window well, 8 floors below the roof of the State Department headquarters near the 23rd and D Street location. Kokal's death was briefly mentioned in a FOX News website story on November 8 but has been virtually overlooked by the major media.

Interestingly, the FOX report states that State Department officials confirmed Kokal's death to The Washington Post yet the Post - according to an archive search - has published nothing at all about Kokal's death.

Kokal's INR bureau was at the forefront of confronting claims that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction. Washington police have not ruled out homicide as the cause of his death. Kokal was not wearing either a jacket or shoes when his body was found. He lived in Arlington, Virginia.

However, a colleague of Kokal's told this writer that the Iraq analyst was despondent over "problems" with his security clearance. Kokal reportedly climbed out of a window and threw himself out in such a manner so that he would "land on his head." At the time Kokal fell from either the roof or a window, his wife Pamela, a public affairs specialist in the Bureau of Western Hemisphere Affairs, was waiting for him in the parking garage. Mrs. Kokal had previously worked in Consular Affairs where she was involved in the stricter vetting of visa applicants from mainly Muslim countries after the Sept. 11 attacks.

State Department officials dispute official State Department communiqu├ęs that said Kokal was not an analyst at INR. People who know Kokal told the French publication Geopolitique that Kokal was involved in the analysis of intelligence about Iraq prior to and during the war against Saddam Hussein.

Another INR official, weapons expert Greg Thielmann, said he and INR were largely ignored by Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security John Bolton and his deputy, David Wurmser, a pro-Likud neo-conservative who recently became Vice President Dick Cheney's Middle East adviser. Kokal's former boss, the recently retired chief of INR, Carl W. Ford, recently said that Bolton often exaggerated information to steer people in the wrong directions.

A former INR employee revealed that some one-third to one-half of INR officials are either former intelligence agents with the CIA or are detailed from the agency. He also revealed it would have been impossible for Kokal to have gained entry to the roof on his own. INR occupies both a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) on the sixth floor that has no windows and a windowless structure on the roof that has neither windows nor access to the roof, according to the former official. The other windows at the State Department have been engineered to be shatter proof from terrorist bomb attacks and cannot be opened.

INR and other State Department officials report that a "chill" has set in at the State Department following Kokal's defenestration. A number of employees are afraid to talk about the suspicious death. It also unusual that The Northern Virginia Journal, a local Arlington newspaper, has not published an obituary notice on Kokal.
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11.20.2003

Exxon Mobil Claims $2.2 Billion Tax Benefit $5 Billion Court Victory - BIG OIL EVEN BEATS THE IRS

November 2003 - 7.2 Billion Dollar Benefit Month for Exxon-Mobile
Nov 20, 2003 IRVING, Texas (AP) - Exxon Mobil Corp. has settled a long-running battle with the Internal Revenue Service and said it will get a refund and interest worth about $2.2 billion. The oil giant said it would report the after-tax benefit in its fourth-quarter results. The refund and interest will be worth more than half of Exxon Mobil's profit in last year's fourth quarter.

Under a tax break called the percentage depletion allowance, oil companies are allowed to deduct some of the value of their production from income in computing their taxes. The IRS challenged Exxon's application of the allowance on some sales. Exxon went to trial three times in federal district court in Dallas and a federal appeals court in Washington, beginning in 1989, and won, the company said.

The company won decisions in 1996 and 2001 over its deductions for tax years 1974 and 1975 and was reimbursed by the government for the taxes it had paid. Earlier this year, the company won a third court ruling and the IRS and Justice Department agreed that Exxon Mobil was entitled to the deductions for 1976 to 1990, the company said.

The company said the decision to settle the case was reviewed by the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. Under federal law, the committee can review any refund above a certain amount, currently about $2 million. It was unclear where the Exxon Mobil refund would rank on the scale of large taxpayer victories.

A committee official declined to discuss the review and said the proceedings were confidential unless the taxpayer wanted to discuss the case. "We are taking what we and the IRS agreed was a fair refund plus interest," said Tom Cirigliano, a spokesman for Irving-based Exxon Mobil. The interest will be paid at rates set by the IRS, he said.

Exxon Mobil did not disclose the tax case in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Cirigliano said the company was waiting until it had an agreement with the IRS. Exxon Mobil, the world's largest publicly traded oil company, earned $11.46 billion last year on revenue of $204.5 billion.
So if you are the World's largest Oil Company you can beat the Bush Government on Taxes - refuse to pay the Exxon Valdese settlement and have it overturned (see below), and give massive amounts to the Bush/Cheney campaign. Any questions?

Court overturns $5 billion Exxon Valdez award


November 7, 2001, 5:56 PM EST The $5 billion punitive damages award against Exxon Mobil Corp. in the 1989 Valdez oil spill is excessive, a federal appeals court ruled today. The court ordered a judge to determine a lesser amount. A jury in Anchorage, Alaska, had ordered the oil giant in 1994 to pay the sum to thousands of commercial fisherman, Alaska natives, property owners and others harmed by the nation's worst oil spill.
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25 More Dead 400 Wounded - Who is Winning the War on Terror?

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Explosions Hit British Consulate and London-Based Bank, Killing at Least 25 People and Wounding Nearly 400
Nov 20, 2003 ISTANBUL, Turkey (AP) - Trucks packed with explosives blew up near the high-rise headquarters of the London-based HSBC bank and the British consulate on Thursday, killing at least 25 people and wounding nearly 400, officials said.

The bombings, which occurred five minutes apart, at about 11 a.m., came days after two synagogue suicide bombings and coincided with the visit of President Bush to London. They were blamed on al-Qaida.
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New York Taxpayers Pick up the Tab for Cheney

(Buffalo-AP) -- New York taxpayers will wind up picking up the tab for the beef-up security measures provided for Vice President Dick Cheney's campaign swing across upstate New York.
Law enforcement agencies in the Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo areas devoted hundreds of officers and thousands of dollars to ensure the vice president's safety during Monday's appearances.In Buffalo, police officers on motorcycles, on foot and in cars and helicopters guarded Cheney's route to and from a Buffalo restaurant where a fund-raiser was held.
Cheney also had breakfast in suburban Syracuse and lunched in Rochester, collecting at least $700,000 for the Bush-Cheney re-election warchest.

In Buffalo alone, the cost of the extra security is estimated at ten-thousand dollars.

Such expenses are typically paid for by the host cities -- not the president's campaign or the White House.


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11.19.2003

Dollar Near All-Time Low Against Euro

Nov 19, 2003 LONDON (AP) - The U.S. dollar hovered near an all-time low against the euro and was mixed against other major currencies Wednesday in European trading. Gold prices rose.

The euro was trading at $1.1929 in late morning trading Wednesday in Europe, up from $1.1896 Tuesday. It had reached $1.1973 in late trading Tuesday in New York - the highest level since the euro was introduced in 1999.

Traders began selling dollars following news that the Bush administration has granted U.S. industry requests to impose temporary quotas on some imports of Chinese textiles. That fed concern about trade wars developing between the United States and key trading partners.

11.16.2003

What the Average, Educated Iraqi thinks - Is Very Bad News for American Soldiers in IRAQ

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The Anglo-American presence in Iraq is not considered one of liberation, but one of occupation
As US Casualties Mount, Iraqis Vow More Attacks -
A series of interviews with prominent Iraqi thinkers, university professors, historians and artists revealed that none believe that Iraq is about to become a democracy. In fact, many believe that Iraq is more likely to become a moderate Islamic state, very dissimilar to the Islamic Republic of Iran. Iraqis today, seven months after Saddam’s ouster, have differing opinions on how to create a stable, prosperous civil society, but they do agree on a number of things:

1) The Anglo-American presence in Iraq is not considered one of liberation, but one of occupation: The lessons of the British occupation of Iraq in the period 1921-1958 (1958 was the year the British-enforced monarchy was overthrown in a bloody, vicious revolution), and particularly the British-orchestrated coup in 1941 against the government of Rashid Aali (Arab nationalism was the government’s platform) are not lost on the middle-class Iraqi today. Some Iraqis suspect that the only way the US can consider their invasion a success is to install some puppet government, a Saddam clone who is rather keen on pleasing Washington.

2) The Iraqi Governing Council is considered a cruel joke at best and a foreign weapon of domination - a proxy legate - at worst. A prominent University of Mustansiriyah professor warned that the violence in Iraq will not subside but rather increase several-fold in the weeks and months to come. He suggested that the American public exercise some wisdom and compassion for “their young boys and girls who are caught in this mess,” and that the American government transfers power over to the Iraqis as soon as possible. He called for “an Iraq ruled by the will of the legitimate Iraqis.”

3) The country is being robbed blind by US conglomerates and a White House that cares only to cement its financial ties with special interest groups. Several weeks before the invasion of Iraq, I had a phone conversation with a prominent Iraqi-American bio-medical engineer in Maine. He was furious over reports that Iraqi companies would be shut out from the reconstruction process. “We have many skilled and educated professionals in Iraq. Why are they shutting us out?” The Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) in Iraq says that foreign companies doing reconstruction business in Iraq employ thousands of Iraqis. However, there are no Iraqi companies that have been awarded independent contracts. Iraqi companies that are given a portion of reconstruction responsibilities usually do so under Halliburton or Bechtel proxy.

4) Iraqi Resistance will likely grow and become deadlier. Iraqis know they are in for a difficult time ahead. Last week, White House officials privately hoped that the suicide attacks on the Red Cross (ICRC) and previously on the United Nations compound would convince Iraqis that the resistance was barbarous and against their best interests. The hope fizzled as Iraqis took to the streets not only blaming the CPA for lack of security, but also blaming Israel for orchestrating the attacks “to undermine security and stability in Iraq and pit one side (Shiite and Sunni) against another.”

North American media pundits have seen fit to give very little room to Iraqi voices of dissent; Iraqi opinions of the reconstruction effort, or lack thereof, are drowned out by the number of proponents of the Iraqi war - Friedman, Krauthammer, Gaffney, Rice - who repeatedly cite the number of free newspapers that have blossomed in Iraq recently, some 300 newspapers and magazines. However, a number of these newspapers have been closed by US forces raising concerns that the press in Iraq is not that free and can only print news US forces found acceptable.

The situation in Iraq for the Iraqis themselves is so hopeless that many are finding renewed strength and hope in the Iraqi resistance, according to a CIA report released last week. The report cites the lack of faith in the US forces and the lack of progress in infrastructure development as two reasons why many Iraqis are increasingly supporting the resistance movement.

At press time, violence and attacks had spread far beyond the “Sunni Triangle.”
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